All systems Go for Cebu ace
NOT even LJ Go’s worst round of the week could stop the 18-year-old Cebuano yesterday from claiming his first national championship in runaway style and putting the Philippine Amateur Open trophy back in the hands of a Filipino.
Go bogeyed his last four holes for a 4-over-par 76 but still cruised to an 11-shot victory over Jobim Carlos, who made a solid final-round charge to seal a 1-2 Philippine finish at Wack Wack East.
“I’m very happy because I finally won a tournament,” said Go, who flies back to the United States next week for the start of school at Seton Hall where he has a golfing scholarship. “I have never really won anything (before).”
Counting rounds of 72, 72 and 71, Go— who helped power Cebu Country Club’s PAL Interclub victory the last two years—tallied 291 over the heavily wooded layout that played a lot tougher in the final round because of winds that blew in all directions.
Go admitted to losing focus and to falling to fatigue over the closing stretch, but that hardly made a dent on his dominant form in the event that was also backed by Pancake House, Golf Depot and Pacsports as part of the PLDT Group Amateur Tour.
“I lost focus, probably,” Go said of his closing four holes. “Those holes are really tough, but I managed to play them well (in the first three rounds).”
Carlos, the University of San Francisco advertising junior, fired one of two day-best 72s and came charging back from eight behind defending champion Jerome Ng of Singapore to salvage runner-up honors for the third time in the last four years.
Ng, the Singapore national team spearhead who started the day seven shots behind Go, ballooned to an 80 to fall into a tie with Carlos at 302, then lost in the countback.
Gen Nagai, a Japanese who is also a mainstay of Cebu CC, bounced back with a 73 to finish fourth at 304, a shot ahead of recent PH team addition Justin Quiban, who had a 74.
Johnson Poh and Marc Ong, Ng’s national teammates, also blew up with a 76 and 78, respectively and finished out of the top five at 306, with Jik-Jik Abdon, Gabriel Atienza and Abdul Hadi rounding out the top 10 at 308 after respective efforts of 74, 78 and 80.
Gabriel Manotoc carved out the other 72 and tied for 11th spot with former pros Tonlits Asistio (78) and Gary Sales (75) for 309s.