The Philippines rallied with a two-under 214 behind Marcel Puyat and Clyde Mondilla's closing one-under 71s as it turned in a decent sixth place finish in the Nomura Cup topped by Australia at the Denarau Golf and Raquet Club and Natadola Bay Championship Golf Club courses in Fiji recently.
Rupert Zaragoza matched par 72 in the final day to back up Puyat and Mondilla's one-under cards as the Philippines, whose campaign was sanctioned by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and supported by Philippine Sports Commission and ICTSI, bested Southeast Asian rival Thailand by 10 strokes and posted its best finish in the four-to-play, three-to-count format event since 2005.
Team Philippines also finished ahead of two of Asia's powerhouses Taiwan (seventh - 897) and China (eighth - 898). The Thais wound up 10th with a 901.
The young Filipino golfers actually churned out a solid opening of three-under 213 at Denarau as Zaragoza and Zanie Boy Gialon shot 70 and 71, the fourth and fifth best scores, respectively, in the day.
But they struggled at the tough Natadola layout designed by Vijay Singh in the middle rounds with 228 and 236 and needed a final round charge back at Denarau to salvage sixth place at 891.
That was 51 shots off Australia, which dominated the field with an 840 behind Cameron Smith, Jake Higginbottom, Daniel Bringolf and Marika Batibasaga for a whopping 21-stroke romp over New Zealand, which had an 861.
Zaragoza counted for four days with 70-79-77-72, Puyat didn't figure in the first day with a 78 but counted with 73-79-71 in the next three rounds. Mondilla failed to count with an 83 in the second day but made 72, 80 and 71 to help the team.
"Rupert has really shown the way for Philippine golf," said NGAP president Larry Mendoza.
Gialon also counted for the team in the second round with a 76.
"We did very well, considering we had three first timers in the team. This is the youngest team in the history of the national team," said PHL team captain Tommy Manotoc, referring to his squad which had an average aged of 17.
Zaragoza, a former Junior World champion, is 13; Puyat, a scholar at Stanford U, is 17; Mondilla, a former national champion, is 18, while Gialon, a veteran internationalist, is 21.
The Philippines, with players all above 20, wound up 10th in the last staging of the event in South Korea.
India placed third with an 865 while Korea and Japan took the next two places with 870 and 886, respectively.*PNA
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