The Philippines ended Thailand’s domination of the Santi Cup in resounding fashion, claiming the team crown via a whopping 18-stroke victory and sweeping the top two posts in individual play of the South East Asia Golf Team Championships in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar recently.
Asian Games gold medal teammates Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go sustained their top forms and teamed up with Bernice Ilas-Olivarez to power the Phl to the team championship in the 10th staging of the event for the top lady amateurs in the region, pooling a 72-hole total of 559.
Thailand, which ruled the first four editions from 2009-2012 then swept the last three championships, failed to match the Phl’s hot start and strong finish at the City Golf Course, ending up with a 577 aggregate with Malaysia taking the bronze with a 593.
Pagdanganan, also a former Phl Ladies Amateur Open champion, stood at the forefront of the Pinays’ charge, scoring a 10-under 278 total to clinch the individual gold with Go bagging the silver with a 281. Thai Napabhach Boon-in settled for bronze with 287.
Though it was only the Phl’s second victory in a decade-long staging of the annual championship, it underscored the Pinays’ tremendous form and confidence following their Asian Games conquest where Yuka Saso anchored the country’s improbable comeback in the final round to sweep the team and individual golds in last year’s Asiad in Jakarta.
“The victory speaks so much of our players’ character and determination. More so, it underscored their readiness to take on the best when the country hosts the Southeast Asian Games this December,” said team captain and head of delegation Bones Floro.
The National Golf Association of the Philippines sec-gen also reiterated the country’s golf body’s commitment to provide the national players, both in the men’s and women’s sides, the exposure and training needed to guarantee the Phl’s strong showing in the upcoming SEAG wars.
“We have set several lead-up tournaments and extensive training sessions for members of the men’s and women’s teams,” said Floro.
The Phl nailed a breakthrough in Santi Cup in 2014 in Brunei where Amelia Legaspi also won the individual gold to complete the sweep. Jayvie Agojo delivered the first individual gold in Indonesia in 2012.
Weeks after their Santi Cup feat, Go and Pagdanganan trounced Thailand’s top amateur Atthaya Thitikul in the Philippine Amateur Open Golf Championship at Riviera with the Pinay aces switching places this time with Go taking the gold and Pagdanganan beating Thitikul by six for runner-up honors.
The Thai boys, however, remained kings of the Putra Cup, assembling an 847 for the gold with the Phl, made up of Aidric Chan, Carl Corpus, Kristoffer Arevalo and Miguel Castro finishing a far second at 869.
The Phl juniors team also struggled in the Lion Cup, winding up fifth behind Myanmar (590), Thailand (592), Indonesia (598) and Singapore (598) with a 601 while the junior girls team also placed second to Thailand (590) in Kartini Cup with a 601 with Junia Gabasa grabbing the bronze in individual play with a 299.