Bayron charges back, tops Aboitiz by 2 shots
JAY BAYRON closed out with a two-under-par 70 to hold off a hard-charging Gavin Green of Malaysia and rule the $100,000 Aboitiz Invitational by two shots at Wack Wack East in Mandaluyong yesterday.
The 37-year-old Bayron, who started the day trailing overnight leader Nicolas Paez of the United States by a shot, birdied the par-4 15th hole for what proved to be the turning point, tallying a 72-hole 282 over the tree-lined layout.
The well-built Green, one of the finest players to come out of Malaysia in recent years, rallied with a 69 to finish with a 284 total.
In winning the event for the second time since the inaugural edition in Cebu in 2011, Bayron bankrolled $17,500 (roughly P822,000), but, more importantly, erased bitter memories of losing the Philippine Open to American Berry Henson by a shot that same year.
Bayron, the former caddy of President Duterte at Apo Golf in Davao in the late 1990s, had another highlight, a pitch-in birdie from 30 yards on the tough ninth hole which he later said inspired him the rest of the round.
“I was looking for a spark (in my round), an inspiration,” Bayron said in Filipino. “That was it, the birdie on No. 9. It gave me all the confidence the rest of the round.”
That birdie on No. 15 put all the pressure on Green, who actually tied Bayron going to No. 15 only for the eventual champion to pull out a two-shot swing after the Malaysian muffed a four-footer for par.
Rattanon Wannasrichan also carved out a 69 and finished third at 285, with Filipino Antonio Lascuña shooting a 71 to settle for a tie with Indon George Gandranata, who shot a 70, at 286.
Paez couldn’t handle the pressure playing with the lead and skied to a 77, winding up with a level 288, tied with Poom Saksansin of Thailand and Sweden’s Malcom Kokocinski, who shot 72 and 73, respectively.