Ababa rules Del Monte tourney after challengers fail to overcome three-round hurdle
Armed with a big cushion, Jhonnel Ababa snapped a year-long spell on the Philippine Golf Tour, beating local favorite Reymon Jaraula by two despite a wobbly 71 in the ICTSI Del Monte Championship in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, on Saturday.
Not even Jaraula’s frontside five-under 31 in a flight ahead nor Ababa’s late-hole miscues could tilt the balance for the homegrown talent and recent Pueblo de Oro winner. Ababa, the Davaoeño ace, had built too huge a hurdle with a string of 67s in the first three rounds of the P2.5-million event.
Ababa doubled his 36-hole lead to four over Zanieboy Gialon and a charging Clyde Mondilla and moved six up over Jaraula on Friday, frustrating his pursuers no end with four birdies in the first 11 holes to all but wrap up the championship on a 16-under 272 total worth P450,000.
“This victory meant so much to me, confidence-wise,” said Ababa. “I actually felt I could win after Day 2 after making two eagles.”
Not even a double-bogey on No. 15 and a bogey on the 17th could stop Ababa from nailing his first PGT win since ruling the rain-shortened Cebu leg of last year’s circuit sponsored by ICTSI.
“I made a mistake on No. 15 on wrong shot selection and made a 6 but it hardly mattered as my putting kept me going,” added Ababa.