Van der Valk coasts to five-shot The Country Club romp
STA. ROSA, Laguna—Using a torrid front nine charge that buried his pursuers, Guido Van der Valk on Friday never felt threatened despite a faltering finish to win the P6 million The Country Club Invitational by five shots over LJ Go as the tournament toasted just its second repeat champion.
The Dutchman closed out with a one-over-par 73, playing the back nine at a relaxed 40, but still won with a lot to spare as none of those giving chase came close to matching his 33 coming out as Van der Valk posted consecutive wins here spread three years apart because of the pandemic.
“It’s an honor to win this tournament twice. It’s very special to win back-to-back and I’m super happy that I managed to do it,” said Van der Valk, who tallied a 72-hole 294 total while battling severe gusts and a course designed to bedevil the field.
Only Juvic Pagunsan and Angelo Que have won the event three times, but both were absent this year as Van der Valk wriggled free from the field after starting the second round in a four-way tie for the lead with steady play that defied the trying conditions.
“I played really good after 9 holes but I struggled a little bit at the back but I had enough of a buffer to still be comfortable,” added Van der Valk. “I’m thrilled to have done this again and I look forward to defending my title next year.”
Go, who had the only sub-par round of the week, a 73 that came in the third round, closed out with a 74, while Antonio Lascuña and Micah Shin, former champions both, finished another stroke back after submitting a 75 and 74, respectively.
Van der Valk had just a two-shot lead over Go entering the final day. But he had all four of his birdies in a seven-hole stretch from No. 2.