‘Lucky’ Ababa squeezes out of logjam for Forest Hills crown
Jonel Ababa came up with possibly his finest performance as a pro on Saturday, breaking free from a bunched leaderboard with a seamless seven-under-par 64 to rule the Philippine Golf Tour-ICTSI Forest Hills Challenge by three shots over a stunned field in Antipolo.
The pint-sized Davao native opened with two straight birdies and then hit greens and fairways with laser-like precision to pool a 269 total over the up-and-down, bending layout north of Manila and win by three shots over Jobim Carlos and by five over Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat and South Korean Joo Hyung-kim.
Carlos, a two-time winner this season, closed out with a 67, while Buranatanyarat and Kim submitted a 69 and 68, in that order, with Ryan Lam shooting a 70 to finish seven shots off but completing one of the best performances of his career.
Ababa, who forged a four-way tie for the lead with a 67 on Friday, finished with a total of 18 birdies against a double bogey and a bogey, not dropping a shot in the final 36 holes, while hitting 14 greens and all but two fairways in regulation in the final day.
“I think I am just lucky in the PGT Asia,” said the soft-spoken Ababa, the first champion of the defunct National Caddies Open who bagged a third title this year. “I really played solid the last two days and I thank the Lord for giving me the chance to win again.”
The win was worth $17,500 (roughly P932,000) out of the $100,000 pot.
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