Struggling for the first time this week, Abby Arevalo still coasted to win the Philippine Ladies Open title on Thursday—the eve of her 21st birthday—before declaring that she still has a lot to learn especially so that she will be campaigning on a “bigger stage” in the next couple of weeks.
“The learning will still continue,” Arevalo said after closing out with a two-over-par 73 to win by nine shots over a hard-fighting Rianne Malixi and equal the largest margin of victory in the tournament first established by Bianca Pagdanganan three years ago in Wack Wack.
“I’m happy with the win, definitely. But I am going to work on some things,” added the San Jose State University product, who tallied a three-under-par 210 over 54 holes at the exclusive Manila Golf layout inside posh Forbes Park. “Especially now that I will be taking on a bigger stage. I need to stay hungry.”
She did stay hungry enough to fight back when the 12-year-old Malixi rallied to trim an 11-stroke final-round deficit to just six, making sure she had enough momentum for the tougher challenges ahead.
The bigger stage doesn’t necessarily mean turning pro, as she is lined up to represent the Philippines and Asia in a team tournament featuring Asia-Pacific aces against European counterparts—a Ryder Cup style event—in the Bonallack Trophy and Patsy Hankins Trophy tournament in Spain next month.
Despite winning for the first time since upsetting pro Pauline del Rosario in the Riviera leg of the LPGT, there won’t be a grand celebration for Arevalo and her family—most of which were in the gallery that followed the final flight—with weights training and conditioning regimen scheduled on Friday.
“The next tournament is just around the corner,” said Arevalo, who is a candidate for the Asia-Pacific team, which is set to name the final roster of the squad that will go up against the top-notch European amateurs this weekend. “If I don’t get selected there, then I’m turning pro next month.”
Arevalo, whose pro debut could be at The Summit Point event of the LPGT next month, pointed to some wrong decisions on the course that caused her the chance to better Pagdanganan’s record.
Arevalo could have broken that mark if not for a bogey on the 17th—where she pointed out she committed her biggest mental mistake by playing too cautiously with a hybrid on her second shot from 192 yards in spinning wind and opting for a relaxed 5-wood. She missed to rescue par from four feet.
And then there was Malixi, the reigning national stroke play champion, who submitted a level 71 for 221 after failing to get going in the first two days.
And that didn’t escape the attention of Arevalo, who lost to Malixi in three holes of sudden death in the stroke play finals last month.
“I love Rianne. She’s so young and has a lot of potential,” Arevalo said even as Eagle Ace Superal and Mafy Singson shot 75s to tie for third, 16 shots off the winning score.