Manila: Berry Henson of the United States held off a late charge from local hope Jay Bayron to win his first Asian Tour title at the ICTSI Philippine Open on Sunday.
The Asian Tour rookie made a pivotal up-and-down for par on the last hole to close with one-over-par 73 to clinch his second international title in the span of two weeks at the challenging Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.
Bayron battled tooth-and-nail before closing with a 72 to finish in second place for a 284 total, one stroke from the champion in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.
South Africa’s Jbe Kruger, who finished second on three occasions last year, endured another agonizing defeat when he placed third on 285. Digvijay Singh of India was a stroke back in fourth as he secured his first top-five placing since 2003.
“I feel like I went 72 rounds with Manny Pacquiao this week and didn’t get K.O. I played on a very difficult golf course and the weather was brutal. It was a hard win,” said Henson, who won US$47,550 with a winning total of five-under-par 283.
Overnight leader Henson, who won on the Asian Development Tour two weeks ago, turned in 35 to hold a three-shot lead but it was cut by one when he bogeyed holes 12 and 17.
“We were all struggling to make birdies and stay aggressive on the back nine. I made a couple of mistakes coming in but everything worked out for me on the last hole,” said the 31-year-old.
Bayron shot an eagle four when his wedge shot from 120 yards out rolled into the second hole. The home crowd rallied behind the former caddy but his title aspirations were dashed when he made two straight bogeys from the 14th hole.
“Honestly, I was playing for second after the 15th hole. I tried to keep the thought of winning out of my mind for the entire round. Finishing second is a good result for me and I hope to build on this confidence,” said the 2005 Southeast Asian Games team gold medallist.
India’s Singh shot three birdies in his opening five holes before closing with one birdie and three bogeys in a round of 71. He credited his return to form to his wife, Chitra.
“I have to credit my performance this week to my wife because we spoke a lot on what has to be done on the course,” said Singh, the brother-in-law of former Asian Tour number one Jyoti Randhawa.
“I told myself to go out there and enjoy my round and I did just that by thinking of my wife. Overall, it was a good result for me,” said the 39-year-old.
The International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), which is in the business of acquiring, developing and operating container ports and terminals worldwide, is title sponsoring the Philippine Open.
The co-sponsors of the ICTSI Philippine Open include San Miguel Corporation (Official Beer), Globe Telecom (Official Telecommunications Provider), Lexus (Official Car), HSBC (Official Banking Partner), Splash Corporation (Official Personal Care Sponsor) and Ayala Land (Official Land Developer) while Srixon (Official Golf Ball), Ricoh (Office Solutions Partner), BlackBerry (Official Mobile Partner), Inetol (Official Headwear Supplier), Motorola (Official Radio Supplier), Label 5 (Official Whisky Supplier) and Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria (Official Hotel) will support the event as official suppliers.
Leading fourth round scores
283 - Berry HENSON (USA) 69-70-71-73.
284 - Jay BAYRON (PHI) 69-69-74-72.
285 - Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 71-68-73-73.
286 - Digvijay SINGH (IND) 70-72-73-71.
288 - Kwanchai TANNIN (THA) 73-70-72-73, Mars PUCAY (PHI) 69-73-72-74, Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL (THA) 71-72-71-74.
289 - Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN) 70-69-79-71, Rufino BAYRON (PHI) 76-69-72-72, LIN Wen-hong (TPE) 71-75-71-72, Brad SMITH (AUS) 72-76-68-73, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 70-72-72-75.
290 - WANG Ter-chang (TPE) 69-72-73-76.
291 - Atthaphon PRATHUMMANEE (THA) 74-72-72-73, Piya SWANGARUNPORN (THA) 73-74-71-73, Zaw MOE (MYN) 74-72-71-74, Thammanoon SRIROJ (THA) 71-73-72-75, Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 72-71-71-77.
292 - Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA) 72-72-77-71, BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) 73-69-77-73, Peter KARMIS (RSA) 69-73-75-75.
Photo - Asian Tour
Asian Tour www.GolfGreedy.com