Korean Kim Tae Soo and Leandro Bagtas toughened up in afternoon play and hacked out a pair of reversal over their top seeded rivals yesterday to arrange a showdown for the Philippine Amateur Open Match Play Championships crown at the Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac.
Kim, who placed 13th in the 16-player match play cast, built a two-shot cushion after nine holes then thwarted top ranked and last year’s champion Carl Corpus’ late charge to pound out a 2-1 triumph in their semifinal clash.
Bagtas, on the other hand, hit a clutch par on No. 15 to break an all-square duel with Sean Ramos then matched the second seeded bet’s bogey-par-par windup to snatch a 1-up victory in their side of the Last 4 face-off.
They dispute the crown in another grueling 36-hole finale today.
Laurea Duque, meanwhile, kept her win run going, blasting Korean Kim Ga Yeon, 4&3, to move within a draw from claiming the girls’ crown under a novel round-robin format in the event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation and serving as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Tour.
Duque, who earlier thumped Kristine Fleetwood, 8&6, and Bang Hee Yeon, 4&3, then edged Laia Barro, 2&1, now has four points and will go for the clincher agaisnt second running Rianne Malixi, also today.
Malixi, overall winner of the recent Philippine Junior Amateur Open, ripped Fleetwood, 6&4, to hike her total to three points, needing a win over Duque to steal the crown.
Barro also came away with a 4&3 romp over Bang to improve to 2.5 points while Kim and Bang stayed in the bottom with 1.5 points and one point, respectively.
In boys’ play, Kim and Bagtas rode on their big quarterfinal triumphs early in the day with the former leaning on a three-hole cushion against the 12th-ranked Paolo Wong after 11 holes before hanging tough for a 1-up victory.
Bagtas, meanwhile, needed an extra hole to escape past Jacob Rolida in the quarters then went 1-up against Ramos after 9 holes, went 2-up with a par on No. 12 only to drop Nos. 13 and 14 for an all-square match.
But Bagtas pounced on Ramos bogey on the next and steeled himself in the last three to preserve the lead and secure the victory.
It was a sorry loss for Corpus, who looked headed to retaining the crown after topping the 36-hole stroke play elims and surviving Korean Ha Tae Won on the third extra hole in the first round of the knockout phase in the event organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and backed by Cignal and Metro Pacific.