Aboitiz Invitational: Amateur in the pros’ shadow
Twenty- four- year old Charles Hong, the only Cebuano pro, had an impressive start in the Aboitiz Invitational, which served as one of the legs of the Asian Development Tour, but it was a 16- year- old amateur who drew raves with a stellar showing in what was to be his final tournament in Cebu.
Hong, who would eventually win his first title in the Pueblo de Oro Championships, opened with a 70 for a share of second place, but faded with a 76- 72- 79 in the final three rounds to finish at 13th place with two others.
But for Gio Gandiongco, 16, the only amateur to make the cut, the third round was his, after he fired a sizzling 2- under 69 for a tie of the fifth- best score of the day in the field of 53 pro golfers.
Gandiongco, who left for the US last September for his college studies, said, “It was a great experience for me, making the cut, playing with the pros and feeling the kind of pressure they all have.” Of the 53 golfers who made the cut, only 14 players shot par or better. Gandiongco had a slow final round and shot a 77 to finish just a stroke ahead of Hong at 12th place with 296.
The day, and the tournament, belonged to Elmer Salvador, who turned a one- stroke lead over Tony Lascuna into a six- shot win with an even par 71 for a 276.
Salvador, who earned P477,000, said his win was a product of years of training, which started when he was a 17- year- old caddie with broken clubs and a broken bottle tied to a stick as a putter.
“For aspiring golfers, practice and train. That’s it. It was not easy reaching where I am now but quitting was never an option for me,” said the 42- year- old.
A GRAND PAYDAY. Elmer Salvador lost his lead early but his rival
Tony Lascuna failed to take advantage and the former caddy pocketed
some P477,000 in winning Cebu’s biggest golf tournament on Aug.