Quiban edges Dumandan after 4-hole playoff, wins ICTSI South Pacific Classic

Justin Quiban pounced on Marvin Dumandan’s costly birdie miss from close range on the 72nd hole, then endured an extra four-hole battle of power and wits to capture the fiercely disputed ICTSI South Pacific Classic crown at the South Pacific Golf and Country Club course on Friday.

Saying he had grown edgy with an unresolved outcome after their repeated returns to the 337-yard No. 9, Quiban attacked it with great resolve in their last two trips, the last leading to a two-putt birdie and ending the protracted duel set up by Dumandan’s sorry miss on No. 18 that saw the latter flub a birdie-putt from five feet.

Dumandan also failed to extend the match further with a miss from long range.

They matched pars after exchanging a couple of muffed birdie bids in their first three visits back on No. 9 with Quiban opting for his trusted Ping driver in the last two occasions, the first, however, led to a three-putt par.

But in his next crack at eagle feat, Quiban confidently stroked it to near the hole and drilled the putt that mattered in a day marked by drizzle and ended under the scorching heat that was the condition in the first three days of the P2 million championship sponsored by ICTSI.

“My strategy in the playoff was to play it (No. 9) as I did the whole week, lay-up with the 4-iron and try to get it as close as I can and try to make a birdie,” said Quiban, who closed out with a 69 and tied Dumandan, who carded a 70, at 279. “But after we didn’t make birdies, I decided to use my driver because it’s been my eighth-week straight (of playing) and I wanted this to end. No guts, no glory.”

“Unfortunately, I made a three-putt par on the third playoff hole and then on the last, I hit the green again and two-putted for birdie and got the victory,” said Quiban, who pocketed P360,000 for his feat. He also contended in the Asian Development Tour in Vietnam three weeks ago and in last week’s PGT Del Monte Championship.

Quiban shook his head in disbelief after missing his uphill birdie bid from six feet on the 72nd hole but gained a reprieve as Dumandan missed wrapping it up in regulation in a day replete with drama on the long championship layout with tricky greens that featured stunning birdie runs and rueful collapses, including that of Gen Nagai.

But in a duel of aces seeking to end a long title spell, Quiban came out to clutch a cherished trophy, five years after he scored a breakthrough five-shot victory over Jay Bayron in Binitin, Negros Occidental. He also beat Joenard Rates by three to secure the PGT Asian Central Azucarera de Tarlac trophy in late 2017.

It was a sorry setback for Dumandan, who stuffed a brilliant approach shot to within 5 feet on the par-5 18th to re-ignite his bid to end a 14-year title spell as joint frontrunner Quiban, who tied him at nine-under overall heading to the 72nd hole, missed his uphill birdie-putt from six feet.

But the amiable Dumandan’s championship putt from five feet swerved to the right at the finish — to his and the big hometown gallery’s disappointment, leading to a sudden death, the first title to be disputed over 72 holes in nine legs of this year’s circuit put up by ICTSI and backed by Kampfortis Golf, the official apparel of the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc.

Dumandan settled for the P236,000 prize.

Dumandan, sparkling with his neon green shirt, threatened to pull away with a four-under card after 10 holes but the local ace, who last won in 2009 at Apo, cracked as the pressure mounted at the back, yielding crucial strokes on Nos. 11 and 13 and missing the winning putt on the 18th.

In a flight ahead of the championship group, Cebu-based Japanese Nagai forced a three-way tie at nine-under with a fourth straight birdie on the par-5 12th. But he came up short on his approach on the 18th, putted aggressively that sent the ball veering to the left near the fringe and muffed a six-footer.

A product of this year’s PGT Q-School, Nagai, a former national junior champion, wound up with a three-putt bogey for a 69 and missed joining Dumandan and Quiban in the playoff with a 280 total for solo third worth P136,000, his best in three PGT stints. He posted a joint 25th finish at Luisita and tied for 18th at Valley.

Sean Ramos shot the day’s best 67 to tie Keanu Jahns, who fired a 69, at fourth at 281 while last year’s winner Tony Lascuña wound up sixth at 282 after a 70, and Dutch Guido van der Valk sizzled with a 68 to join Lloyd Go, Elmer Salvador and Forest Hills and Del Monte legs winner Clyde Mondilla at seventh with 285s.

Go actually blitzed the first 10 holes with five birdies against a bogey but dropped a shot on No. 11 and double bogeyed the 17th to fall from joint sixth, Salvador also blew a frontside 33 with three backside bogeys for a 72, while Mondilla gunned down four birdies but made three bogeys and a double bogeys and slipped with a 73.

Ronnel Tagaan shot his third 73 in four days and wound up tied at 20th with Ferdie Aunzo, who limped with a 76, at 291 and took the low amateur honors.

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