Dabawenyo earns players’ nod

DAVAO›S Jhonnel Ababa took the Player of Year honors while Calatagan Golf and Country Club the best course plum from the men of the tour who voted for the top awards at the close of the 2011 ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
Ababa, winner of three of the 15 legs in this year’s circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc., got 14 votes from his peers to emerge the runaway winner for the top player award. He bested last year’s Order of Merit winner Jay Bayron, who drew seven votes.
Bacolod›s Juvic Pagunsan, the runaway winner of this year’s OOM title on the strength of his four-leg romp, took only five votes, the same number earned by Dabawenyo Elmer Salvador, the OOM winner in the revival of the pro circuit in 2009.
Calatagan, that gem of a course in Batangas which hosted the 13th leg last October, was also unanimously chosen as the top course with 19 votes, besting Orchard, venue of the third leg, which got 12 votes.
Narlene Soriano, PR manager of the sponsoring ICTSI, awarded the prizes to Ababa and Calatagan golf manager Dave Hernandez during closing rites of the ICTSI Wack Wack Championship ruled by Frankie Minoza at WW East last week.
Mt. Malarayat, which hosted the second leg won by Angelo Que, drew five votes followed by Apo, Royal Northwoods and Canlubang, which got four votes apiece. Riviera, Cebu Country Club, Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club and Iloilo GCC took two votes each.
Incidentally, Ababa won at Calatagan, which he calls home, for his third victory in the circuit put up by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. He scored a breakthrough win in Iloilo last July, nipping Bayron in the playoff then edged Cassius Casas by one to cop the ICTSI Riviera Classic crown last September.
Ababa ended up third in the OOM ranking with P1,014,956 earnings, next to Pagunsan (P1,474,604) and Elmer Salvador (P1,049,919).
Meanwhile, Riviera’s par-71 Langer layout proved to be the toughest course with Ababa finishing with a four-over 217 total to win. The lowest score posted in the season was 15-under 201 by Pagunsan in beating Salvador by five for the Orchard crown. [PR]