Korean Kim Tae Soo needed an extra hole in their marathon 36-hole duel to nip Leandro Bagtas and claim the boys’ crown while young Rianne Malixi halted erstwhile unbeaten Laurea Duque to clinch the girls’ diadem in the Philippine Amateur Open Match Play Championships crown at the Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac yesterday.
Kim pulled through with a par on their third trip on the par-4 No. 1 in another sweltering day after an up-and-down windup in regulation that saw Bagtas forcing an all-square match on the 34th after trailing the morning duel by one hole.
Kim went 1-up again by winning No. 17, their 35th hole, but bogeyed the last which Bagtas parred to extend the match. Bagtas, however, failed to match his rival’s par on the 37th.
It was a big victory for Kim, who ended up at 13th after the 36-hole stroke play elims and worked his way into contention by nipping Perry Bucay in 19 holes, edging Paolo Wong, 1-up, and shocking top seed and last year’s winner Carl Corpus, 2&1, in the semis.
The third seeded Bagtas romped off with a 5&3 victory over Josh Ramos, outlasted Jacob Rolida on the first extra holes in the quarters then wore down No. 2 Sean Ramos, 1-up, in the Last 4 to earn a crack at the crown in the event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation and serving as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Tour.
Though he trailed Kim after 18 holes of the grueling finale, Bagtas kept pressing his bid and looked headed for an explosive finish after wresting control on the 33rd hole.
Corpus subdued Ramos, 3&2, to settle for third in the event organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and backed by Cignal and Metro Pacific.
Malixi earlier ended Duque’s string of imposing victories by taking charge in the early going of their face-off under the novel round-robin format, going five holes up after seven then holding sway the rest of the way for a 6&4 romp.
She and Duque finished with identical four points but Malixi took the crown, 1-up, after the three-hole match play in a big follow-up to her victory in the recent Philippine Junior Amateur Open at Sherwood.