Avena rules Senior Am by 15 shots

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LIPA CITY—Abe Avena put the finishing touches to a solid scoring display in the NGAP Philippine Seniors Amateur golf championship by shooting a level 72 at Malarayat’s rain-drenched, windswept composite layout here.

Avena, a businessman who is into poultry raising, financing and real estate, returned a 37-35 card to post a 15-shot victory over former winner Rolly Viray in the event presented by the MVP Sports Foundation as part of the PLDT Group Amateur Tour.

Together with earlier rounds of 70 and 72, Avena tallied 214 over the course he calls home, unofficially becoming the first champion ever to finish with a sub-par score in the 54-hole national event also backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, Pancake House, Club Car and Pacsports.

Viray, the manager in Laguna’s Cangolf, came within seven off the pace after nine holes but settled for a 77-229.

Francis Gaston, another former champ, finished third after a 77-233.

“During my early years of playing golf, I wanted to play these guys because I always read their names in the news,” the 56-year-old Avena said with a laugh, referring to Viray and Gaston. “And now I beat them all.”

Meanwhile, Norman Dela Peña churned out a mighty final-round fightback to nip two-day leader Chang Young-hi for the Mid-Amateur crown.

Dela Peña returned a 74 for 223, two shots clear of Chang, the overnight leader by four who closed with a prosaic 80. Ivan Ferreras finished third at 230 after a 73.

Other top Seniors: Dave Hernandez 78-234; Montito Garcia 80-235; Mari Hechanova 78-237.

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