Arevalo, Singson bag National Stroke Play titles

Kristoffer Arevalo used a solid start to break away from Perry Bucay and went on to fire a 69 and beat Rho Hyun Ho by two while Mafy Singson pounced on Lois Kaye Go’s backside meltdown to rally from two down and snare a one-stroke triumph in the National Stroke Play Championship at Manila Southwoods’ Legends course last week.

Mafy SIngson holds her huge National Stroke Play trophy after out-dueling SEA Games teammate LK Go.

Tied with Bucay after 54 holes, Arevalo shook off his rival’s challenge with back-to-back opening birdies then shot three more birdies against two bogeys for a 33-36 card and a 286 as Ho moved from joint third and took the runner-up honors in the men’s side with a 70 for a 288.

Bucay failed to match Arevalo’s fiery start with pars and fell farther back with a double-bogey on No. 3 for a frontside 40. He matched par at the back but his closing 76 dropped him to joint fifth at 293 with Gabriel Manotoc and Ivan Monsalve, who shot 70 and 71, respectively, and Shinichi Suzuki, who started the final round just a stroke behind the joint leaders but faltered with a 38-37 for a 75.

Korean Kim Tae Soo carded a 73 and finished third at 291 while Jet Hernandez, who topped the recent SEA Games qualifying at Luisita, failed to sustain a third round 69 with a 74, ending up fourth at 292.

Two strokes off Go in a tie with Laurea Duque with 18 holes left, Singson cashed in on her familiarity with the bunker-laden layout which she calls home, hitting two birdies against a bogey at the front then bouncing back from a bogey-bogey start at the back with an eagle on the par-5 14th.

The ICTSI-backed member of the SEAG-bound ladies squad actually wavered at the finish, making two bogeys against a birdie in the last four holes to settle for a 72 and a 295. But Go, who will join Singson and top amateur Rianne Malixi in the biennial regional games in Hanoi next month, also faltered with back-to-back closing bogeys and wound up with a 75 for a 296.

Go, member of the team that swept the gold medals in the last SEA Games at Luisita in 2019, held on a one-stroke lead despite a 36 start and went 3-up again on Singson’s shaky backside start.

But the Cebuana ace bogeyed the 12th and dropped into a tie with Singson, who gained on a two-shot swing on No. 14 (eagle-par). Go regained the lead as Singson bogeyed the next but the latter pounced on the former’s bogey on the 17th which birdied for the decisive two-stroke swing and the lead.

Needing a strong finish to win or force a playoff, Go hit it straight off the mound but dumped her approach shot on the par-4 closing hole into the rightside bunker, her blast rolling past the green and onto the fringe and missed her par-bid to match Singson’s closing bogey.

Duque also faded with a 38 start, finishing with a 76 for third at 299.

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