Thai tops Qualifying; 19 Pinoys earn PGTA cards
TARLAC—Thai Pasavee Lertvilai capped a four-day run of under-par scores with a second straight 69 and topped the PGT Asia Tour Qualifying School by five over American Seungjae Maeng at the Luisita Golf and Country Club course here on Saturday.
Lertvilai, who cashed in on John Michael O’Toole’s shaky windup to move up by two in the third round, held sway despite an even-par card after 12 holes then birdied four against a bogey in the last six to finish with a 36-33 and a 13-under 275 aggregate, clinching the low medal honors in the 72-hole elims for the newest regional circuit put up by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc.
Maeng, who co-led with Swede Fredrik From in the first round, bounced back from a third round 74 with a 69 to take runner-up honors at 280 while Jobim Carlos rallied with a bogey-free 67 to tie three others at third at 282 and emerge the top Filipino finisher in the event which staked 60 slots plus ties for the PGTA kicking off with the Aboitiz Invitational Tuesday at Southwoods.
Other six-under overall scorers were American John Michael O’Toole (74), Korean-American Micah Shin (68) and Indonesian Joshua Wirawan (69).
Elki Kow, aslo from Indonesia, shot a 67 and shared seventh place with another local bet Rey Pagunsan, who carded a 69, at 283, while Anthony Fernando, among the 19 Filipinos who qualified, finished tied for ninth at 284 with Aussie David Gleeson (70) and Swede Andreas Gronkvist (68) despite a 74.
Carlos is actually eligible to play in the inaugural PGT Asia Tour being among the top 40 in the current Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit ranking. But by finishing in the top 60, the former national champion, Pagunsan and Fernando also assured themselves of spots in PGTA events to be staged abroad starting next year.
Also guaranteed of that privilege Justin Quiban (67-285), Keanu Jahns (76-286), Dino Villanueva (70-286), Rudy Cabajar Jr. (73-288), Robert Pactolerin (74-289), amateur Richnell Albano (72-290), Ira Alido (73-290), Charles Hong (72-290), Benjie Magada (73-291), Orlan Sumcad (73-293), Cookie La’O (74-295), Randy Garalde (79-296), Nelson Huerva (73-296), Joseph Suarez (80-297) and Arnel Enema (73-298).
Kris Etter rebounded with an even-par 72 and tied Aussies Rick Coleman (76), Joshua Whitehouse (77) and Max Duffy (73) and Spain’s Salvador Paya Vila (76) for 58th at 301 for the last five PGTA berths.
Missing the cut were former PGT leg winner Mars Pucay (80-303), Rolando Marabe Jr. (79-303), Raymund Gonzales (75-304), Erwin Arcillas (76-305), Francis Morilla (72-305), John Kier Abdon (79-307), Carlos Packing (79-307) and Tonton Asistio (79-308).
The PGTA, backed by Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Srixon, Callaway, Empire, NikeGolf, TaylorMade, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp, Omnisource Int’l., Silicon Computer and Telecoms, Inc., will start with the $100,000 Aboitiz Invitational from Aug. 15-18.
Central Azucarera de Tarlac Open will host the second PGTA leg at Luisita on Sept. 6-9 followed by the ICTSI Riviera Championship (Sept. 13-16), the ICTSI Wack Wack Challenge (Nov. 15-18) and the Splendido Taal (Nov. 29-Dec. 2). Still to be determined are the venues for the seventh leg set Dec. 6-9 and the eighth leg scheduled early next year.