Coming off a life-changing break from the game of golf, Kristoffer Arevalo pulled off a sensational victory at the Philippine National Stroke Play Championship yesterday that makes him ready for the big career goals he once set for himself.
Arevalo pulled away early with birdies on three of the first four holes then ably held off a late rally by Korean teener Rho Hyun Ho to escape with a two-shot win at the Legends course of the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club in Carmona, Cavite.
The 23-year-old Arevalo, the most senior member of the national team competing at next month’s Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam, didn’t yield to the pressure applied by Rho in the back nine with his even par card leading him to a three-under 69 and a 286 total.
Rho, the first round leader, finished with a 70 and settled for second at 288, three ahead of compatriot Kim Tae Soo (73-291).
Jet Hernandez finished fourth with a 74-292 while Gabriel Manotoc ended up tied for fifth after a second straight 70-293 in a strong performance by the other members of the SEA Games squad especially after the shock disqualification of its fourth member here, Jed Dy, for signing a wrong scorecard in the second round.
Perry Bucay, who either held of shared the lead in the second and third rounds, blew up with a 76 and joined Manotoc, Ivan Monsalve (71) and Shinichi Suzuki (75) in the group at 293.
Mafy Singson completed a sweep for the Vietnam SEA Games contingent by winning the women’s division diadem in come-from-behind fashion over national teammate Lois Kaye Go.
Singson, trailing by as many as five in the first round and by two heading to the final round, carded a 72 to turn the tables on Go, who turned in her worst score in four days of 75-for 296.
Both Arevalo and Singson won trophies and 65-inch Huawei television sets for topping their respective divisions in the country’s biggest amateur event sponsored by the PLDT Group, MVP Sports Foundation, Huawei and Manila Southwoods.
“This is sweet, now there’ll be a big TV in the room for my baby Amalia,” said Arevalo, a multi-titled amateur who earned his first win as a brand new father.
Arevalo, a former world jungolf champion, dedicated the victory to her daughter Amalia and girlfriend Samantha. It was the arrival of Amalia last year that led Arevalo to quit the game for at least seven months.