Mondilla caps ‘Merit’ season with 4th crown
Lipa, Batangas—Clyde Mondilla left no doubt as to who is king of the 2017 Philippine Golf Tour on Friday.
Thriving under pressure, Mondilla birdied four of his last five holes to thwart a charging Jerson Balasabas for The Players Championship crown at Summit Point Golf Club here.
The late flurry propelled Mondilla to a 67, a 17-under 271 total, and a three-shot victory over Balasabas, formalizing his ascension as Order of Merit champion with his fourth title of the season.
Still improving at 24 years old, Mondilla also won at Manila Southwoods, Villamor and at Riviera (PGT Asia Tour) two weeks ago to actually render his performance in the season-ending 10th leg immaterial.
But Mondilla wanted a grand celebration for his coronation.
Firing earlier rounds of 67-68-69, Mondilla appeared headed for a breakaway, until Balasabas clawed back from six strokes down in a flight ahead.
Waxing hot, Balasabas birdied holes 1, 2 and 4, eagled 5, and birdied 6 to catch Mondilla, who birdied No. 3 and bogeyed No. 4, at 12-under.
The two traded birdies before Mondilla finished Balasabas off with birdies on 14, 15, 16 and 18 to bag the P550,000 top purse awarded by PGT executive director Narlene Soriano.
A closing birdie gave Balasabas a tournament-best 64 (31-33) and a 274 aggregate worth P370,000.
“I’m so happy; this is a sweet victory and I couldn’t ask for more,” said Mondilla, runner-up to tournament-absentee Tony Lascuña in last year’s OOM derby.
“I was so focused in all four days. When Jerson (Balasabas) made a charge, I didn’t panic since I knew I could handle the situation,” added Mondilla, who won a total of P3.156 million this season.
Jay Bayron, winner here in 2015, fired a 69 and wound up third at 276, one up on Orlan Sumcad, who rallied with a 65.
A 67 pushed Keanu Jahns into a tie with Manila-based Dutchman Guido Van der Valk, who carded a 70, at sixth at 278.
First round leader Dino Villanueva shot a 69 and landed joint seventh at 280.
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