Mondilla logs 8-shot victory
CLYDE Mondilla left nothing to chance yesterday and blew the ICTSI Calatagan Invitational field after closing out with a three-under-par 69 for a whopping eight-shot win over Jonel Ababa and the first back-to-back championship of a very promising career.
The long-hitting 23-year-old from Bukidnon regained his mean form after struggling in the third round to post the most lopsided victory of his career and affirmed his status as the hottest player in the young Philippine Golf Tour season.
After cracking par in all four rounds, counting a course record-setting 64 on Thursday, Mondilla tallied 271 over the tight, tree-lined layout in Batangas en route to the win worth P360,000.
Ababa salvaged a 73 and pipped Antonio Lascuña by a shot for runner-up honors at 279, with Lascuña firing a 72.
“I’m just really happy for going back-to-back,” Mondilla said in Filipino after jacking up his lead in the Order of Merit race with earnings of just under P1.6 million in six events. His previous victory at Eastridge in the Manila Masters was worth P650,000.
Unlike in the first three days, Mondilla opened up with relative calm in the final day before draining his first birdie on No. 4 and picking up another shot two holes later that put everyone away.
He then had a string of three straight birds from the 11th that not even bogeys on 15 and 16 could mask how dominant he was the entire week.
Jay Bayron, Elmer Salvador and Japan’s Syotaro Onuki finished with 281s after efforts of 71, 76 and 70, with Salvador losing a lot of ground after three straight bogeys from No. 7.
Salvador started the day tied with Ababa, just three strokes behind the eventual champion.
“If he (Mondilla) continues to play that way, he will be very hard to beat,” said Lascuña, a pre-tournament favorite who never really got into the title chase after Mondilla assembled that scorching 64 that opened up a seven-stroke lead on the field on Thursday.