Flores, Gonzales reign supreme in JPGT Iloilo leg

The Philippine Star
Flores, Gonzales reign supreme in JPGT Iloilo leg
The winners in the boys’ and girls’ 8-9 and 10-12 age categories of the JPGT Visayas Series I display their medals during awards rites. They are (from left) Kvan Jess Alburo, Denise Eliana Mendoza, Cailey Chanelle Gonzales and Kurt Flores.
STAR / File

ILOILO, Philippines — Kurt Flores overcame an eight-stroke deficit to defeat Isaac Locsin and win the boys’ 10-12 crown by four with a 94 in the ICTSI Junior Philippine Golf Tour Iloilo Visayas Series at the Iloilo Golf Club here yesterday.

Despite the daunting deficit, Flores methodically worked his way back into contention, seizing control with a frontside 46 as Locsin stumbled with a 57. However, a shaky start on the back nine allowed Locsin to close the gap to just one stroke with six holes remaining. This set the stage for a thrilling stretch-run duel.

But Flores, a local talent, banked on a crucial three-shot swing on the par-3 13th with a scrambling par against Locsin’s triple-bogey, leading to a four-stroke victory on a 193 total in the most fiercely contested title disputed over 36 holes in hot, humid conditions.

Locsin, from Bacolod, finished with a 106 for a 197, while Luigi Alvarez placed third with a 232 after a 114 in the first of three tournaments in the Visayas swing of the nationwide series sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

Manila-based Cailey Gonzales achieved a wire-to-wire triumph in the girls’ 10-12 category, assembling an impressive 149 after a five-over 75 to overwhelm Kelsey Bernardino and Zuri Bagaloyos, who matched 166s after 79 and 85, respectively.

In the 8-9 class, Cebuana’s Eliana Mendoza showcased a commanding performance in the girls’ division, recording a sterling 71 to finish with a 153, outpacing Ana Marie Aguilar, who scored a 119 for a total of 240.

Jess Alburo also dominated the boys’ division, posting a 185 total after a 94 and overwhelming Grover Sinfuego, who made a 117 for a 235.

The competition in the 13-15 category, meanwhile, produced contrasting results. Inno Flores maintained a four-stroke lead despite an 81 for a 160 although Luciano Copok fought back with a 77 to tie Dannuo Zhu, who also made an 81, at 164, ensuring a furious final round battle in the 54-hole tournament.

Alexie Gabi, meanwhile, positioned herself for a runaway victory in the girls’ 13-15 division, carding an 80 for a 162 and pulling away by 16 shots over Tiffany Bernardino with 18 holes to play. Bernardino struggled with an 86 for a 178, while Rane Chiu pooled a 184 after a 90.

In the premier 16-18 category, first-day leader John Rey Oro extended his lead to eight after a 71.

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