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Precious Zaragosa scores first career ace, shares JPGT lead


Precious Zaragosa Philippine golf tour

Precious Zaragosa. Photo from Philippine Golf Tour

LAUREL, Batangas – Precious Zaragosa and Mona Sarines surged to the top of the leaderboard in the girls’ 11-14 category in the Junior Philippine Golf Tour, both carding two-over 74s to seize a five-stroke lead in the 54-hole tournament at the Splendido Taal Golf Club here Tuesday.

Zaragosa’s standout performance included a hole-in-one on No. 3 while Sarines finished strong with two birdies in the last three holes at the front in scorching conditions as the pair wrested a commanding lead over Lisa Sarines in one of the three age categories in the Luzon Series I of the of the 14-leg circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

“I was really surprised,” said Zaragosa, who used a Mizuno pitching wedge and Titleist No. 2 ball to ace the 100-yard hole. “But I became nervous after that and made a double bogey and bogey in the next two holes.”

READ: Young golfers savor JPGT stint

Looking ahead, she added: “I hope to putt better tomorrow (today).”

Like most of the 60 participants, Zaragosa intends to compete in all 14 legs of the JPGT, which will culminate in the Match Play Championship in October.

For her part, Mona Sarines acknowledged the need to improve on her approach shots.

“There’s still 36 holes left so I’ll just do my best and improve on those aspects,” she said.

Levonne Talion and Aerin Chua carded 83 and 87, respectively, while Althea Bañez and Kendra Garingalao struggled with 91 and 93, respectively.

In the boys’ 11-14 division, Race Manhit, 11, demonstrated his potential with an 81, despite not recording any birdies. This effort secured him a two-shot lead over Juan Antonio Cruz and Aenzo Sulaik, both of whom finished with 83, while Javie Bautista and Iñigo Gallardo stayed within striking distance with 85 and 86, respectively.

“The greens are fast and I couldn’t get my putting right,” said Manhit, who emphasized that playing in the JPGT helps him develop a competitive spirit.

READ: Tambalque, Lee claim dramatic playoff wins in JPGT national finals

The JPGT, sponsored by ICTSI, aims to nurture young talent and promote camaraderie among participants. It includes the 8-10 age division (36 holes) and the 15-18 category (72 holes), for both boys and girls.

The event is also designed to operate independently from other junior golf organizations, ensuring no scheduling conflicts and fostering a cooperate atmosphere.

In the girls’ 15-18 class, Lia Duque took charge with a 76, ending with a birdie on No. 9 as she grabbed a four-stroke lead over Ji Won Lee, who finished with an 80. Rafa Ancianoa posted an 85 while Anna Kei Fernandez struggled with an 88.

“The greens are pretty firm. But I made three three-putts, so I definitely have to clean that. I also made two double bogeys without penalties, so I need to fix that,” said Duque.

In the boys’ 15-18, Charles Serdenia set the pace with a 75, marked by two birdies but hampered by five bogeys, including one on the final hole. He held a three-stroke advantage over Zachary Villaroman, who led early with a frontside 38 but fell back with four bogeys in the last seven holes, finishing with a 78.

“I need to improve on my short game, especially irons,” said Serdenia, highlighting his round with a scrambling par on the par-5 No. 2 where he mishit his second shot, reached the green in four, and drilled in a long putt.

Rafael Manaol recovered from a rough start, birdying Nos. 8 and 9 but a challenging back nine left him with an 81in a tie with Gabriel Handog in the event also serving as a platform for discovering and developing talents, ensuring their growth in a competitive yet supportive environment.

Alexander Crisostomo and Patrick Tambalque shot 83 and 84, respectively, while Rafael Leonio and Bien Fajardo matched 85s, ensuring a spirited battle in the next three days.

In the youngest category, Maurysse Abalos took command with an 89, bolstering her title drive with a four-stroke lead over Teresa Tambunting, who finished with a 93, while Casedy Cuenca carded a 98.



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Ryuji Suzuki birdied No. 7 and recorded a 78, opening a six-shot lead over Jose Luis Espinosa, who made an 84, while Kevin Tecson and Michael Ray Hortel II scored 100 and 122, respectively.





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