Late 2-shot swing nets Mondilla crown
SILANG, Cavite – Clyde Mondilla survived a disastrous meltdown and bucked Tom Kim’s fiery charge at the back, banging in a clutch birdie on No. 16 to hack out a two-stroke victory over the Korean amateur and Michael Bibat with a closing 67 in the $100,000 ICTSI Riviera Classic here yesterday.
Mondilla wiped out an overnight two-stroke deficit with a solid fiveunder 30 start but blew a five-shot lead at the back, enabling Kim to draw level on No. 13 on an eagle-spiked rally. They traded pars in the next two holes before Mondilla birdied the 16th from close range then watched his young rival succumb to pressure, hitting a couple of sloppy wedge shots on the par-5 hole and holing out with a bogey.
That crucial two-shot swing ended what had appeared to be another tight finish reminiscent of Rene Menor’s record six-hole playoff victory over Thai Pasavee Lertvilai at ICTSI Splendido Classic as Mondilla matched Kim’s par-bogey windup to cruise to two-shot romp on a 72-hole total of nine-under 275.
“I’m thankful my driving and putting clicked when I needed them most,” said Mondilla, who banked the top $17,500 purse in this third leg of the inaugural PGT Asia Tour put up by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
The victory also erased the stigma of his playoff setback to Jay Bayron here in the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour leg last year.
“I really wanted to win this tournament after losing to Jay (Bayron) in sudden death last year. I waited for one year to redeem myself and I’m so happy to have pulled it off,” said Mon- dilla, who opened his bid here with a solid 65 only to reel back with mediocre 71-72 outputs in tough condition in the middle rounds.