Breakthrough victory for gritty Hong
Charles Hong tapped in for par on the first playoff hole to upend Richard Sinfuego yesterday and win the ICTSI Pueblo de Oro Championship—his first title as a professional—at the up-and-down layout in Cagayan de Oro.
After closing out regulation with a final round seven-under-par 65 to catch the veteran Sinfuego at 208, Hong missed the 18th green but nearly pitched in for a birdie as Sinfuego bogeyed after a wild approach.
Sinfuego started the day with a two-shot lead but settled for the playoff despite a 67.
“This win means so much to my career,” said the 24-year-old Hong, who made heads turn with an opening 69 at the Philippine Open in Wack Wack in February.
Hong actually trailed by four after the first hole with a bogey before draining four straight birdies from No. 5 to get back in the hunt.
Hong picked up P200,000, while Sinfuego settled for P120,000.
Sinfuego had a two-stroke lead going into the last three holes, but Hong forged a playoff by closing out with three straight birdies.
Rufino Bayron, who won a leg in this circuit as an amateur, remained in search of his first pro win. He wound up third at 210, two shots behind, after closing out with a 68.
Chris delos Santos wound up fourth 212 after a similar 68.
Marvin Dumandan shared the next spot with Zannie Boy Gialon and Mark Fernando after a 69 for 214.
Gialon, the Sta. Barbara winner, fired a 68, while Fernando shot a 69. Musong R. Castillo