Strong finish nets Ababa Pradera classic golf crown
LUBAO, Pampanga—Jhonnel Ababa kept his astounding streak of luck on the Philippine Golf Tour Asia, besting a horde of rivals with a solid windup to retain the ICTSI Pradera Verde Classic crown by two over Aussie David Gleeson on a closing four-under 68 here on Saturday.
Ababa beat at least 10 bidders in the most fiercely fought final round clash in the two-year-old circuit, gunning down three birdies in the last five holes for a two-shot cushion over erstwhile pursuers Sam Gillis of the United States and Clyde Mondilla.
“Fantastic,” said Ababa, whose 10-under 278 total that included rounds of 68-73-69 netted the diminutive former amateur hotshot his fourth championship, this one worth $17,500.
“I think I’m just lucky playing on PGT Asia. But the key was my birdie on No. 14. It didn’t only bolster my morale but more importantly, it gave me a one-stroke lead. That’s when I felt I could win again,” Ababa said.
Ababa also scored back-to-back wins at Eagle Ridge and here to close out the circuit’s inaugural season last year then broke away from a tight final round duel with three others and beat Jobim Carlos by three to rule the PGTA second season stop at Forest Hills last July.
Gleeson, who ruled the kickoff leg of the second PGTA at Luisita on a three-hole playoff with Erwin Arcillas last April, snatched runner-up honors with an eagle on the par-5 18th, matching Ababa’s closing four-under card for a 270. He pocketed $11,500.
Gillis shot a bogey-free 67 for a 281, good for joint third with Mondilla, who birdied three of the last 12 holes to card a 69.