Clyde Mondilla raises his arms in triumph after securing the ICTSI Players Championship crown and the OOM title.

Mondilla foils Balasabas, bags TPC, OOM titles
(The Philippine Star) - September 29, 2017 - 4:00pm

LIPA City, Batangas, Philippines — Clyde Mondilla crowned himself the new ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit champion in style, sweeping the last two legs of the circuit, including the P3 million The Players Championship at the Summit Point Golf Club here yesterday.

But in one stretch, Jerson Balasabas looked all set to spoil Mondilla’s coronation as he charged back from six strokes down in a flight ahead with a scorching eagle-spiked start to draw level after six holes. But the Del Monte ace regained his nerve and countered with a late flourish, coming through with his own eagle-aided finish capped by four birdies in the last five holes to beat Balasabas by three.

Mondilla closed out the way he opened his title drive in this final PGT leg – with a five-under 67 for a winning 17-under 271. Two weeks after pocketing $17,500 for topping the ICTSI Riviera Classic of the PGT Asia Tour, he banked another P550,000 which he received from the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. executive director Narlene Soriano during awards rites.

“I’m so happy, this is a sweet victory and I couldn’t ask for more,” said Mondilla, who also won back-to-back at Manila Southwoods and Villamor last May to complete a four-leg romp in the ninth season of the country’s premier circuit sponsored by ICTSI.

Balasabas complemented his hot 31 start with a solid finish, a bogey-free backside 33 for a tournament-best eight-under 64 but could only settle for second at 274 worth P370,000 as Mondilla recovered his touch – off the mound, on the fairway and on the greens – to hold off his rival, clinch the crown and formalize his claim on his first OOM title.

“I was so focused in all four days. When Jerson (Balasabas) made a charge, I didn’t panic since I knew I can handle the situation,” added Mondilla, who birdied the three par-5s and eagled the last on No. 9.

The 24-year-old Mondilla thus ended up with PGT winnings of P3,156,409, securing the coveted OOM crown in a bit easy fashion after rivals Tony Lascuña, Miguel Tabuena and Angelo Que skipped the final leg to compete abroad.

He trailed unheralded Dino Villanueva by one in the opener, took charge with a 68 in the second round then hiked his lead to three over Jay Bayron with a third round 69 in the event hosted by Summit Point and backed by the Sta. Lucia and Leviste group.

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