GOLF: DELARIARTE DODGES UPSET AXE, SHOWS WAY TO LAST 16

SILANG, Cavite, May 16, 2003  - Jerome Delariarte snatched a thrilling 1-up victory from the clutches of defeat Thursday, beating Jonard Rates on the fourth playoff hole and grabbing a last 16 spot in the matchplay event of the Philippine Amateur golf championship at Riviera's Langer course here.

Four other matches went through extra holes but the Delariarte-Rates duel provided the drama and thrill to a hot and humid but exciting day that saw five jungolfers advance to the next round and former champion Artemio Murakami and DHL Open titlist Abe Rosal take an early exit.

Delariarte hacked his 8-iron tee shot on their second trip to the par-3 No. 4 within 18 feet then clinched the victory without holing out as Rates, who blew an otherwise won bid on the 18th hole, conceded the hole and the match after a disastrous blast, the ball overshooting the green near the No. 5 mound. He then choked on his chip shot.

In disgust, the sturdy Rates reluctantly picked up his ball then gestured to Delariarte that he has conceded the match that in one stretch had appeared to be already his.

Stamina will be the order of the day Friday as the survivors see action in the morning quarterfinals, with the last eight players standing battling it out in the semis in the afternoon.

"One thing I learned from this was not to give up easily and just fight, fight, fight," said Delariarte, the top seed who barely averted a king-size upset by the last-ranked player in the fold.

Murakami, a former champion, and Rosal, this year's DHL champion, failed to match Delariarte's great escape.

IG Gutierrez battled from four-down in the last eight holes, winning six of them, including four straight from No. 11, as the 15-year-old jungolfer stole a 2 and 1 victory over Murakami, the 1999 champion at Wack Wack.

Michael Bibat, the national age-group champion last year, battled from two holes down, then completed a stunning 3 and 2 victory over Rosal, who routed a star-studded field in the DHL Open Championship in Canlubang in February.

Tonton Asistio, at 13 the youngest player among the qualifiers, birdied three straight holes from No. 13 and went on to beat Erik Escalona, 4 and 2, while Laurence Negrido, the other jungolfer in the fold, posted a 1-up victory over Jun Bernis.

Erwin Vinluan needed an extra hole to nip Hanson So Jr. 1-up, the same score posted by Raymund Sangil, Boyet Saragoza and Jay Bayron who edged Ramon Velez, Dave Hernandez and Mark Vijar on the first playoff hole, respectively.

Also advancing were fancied Juvic Pagunsan, veteran Tommy Manotoc, Pepot Inigo, Marvin Dumandan, Gene Bondoc and jungolfer Miko Alejandro.

Pagunsan and Manotoc came through with identical 3 and 1 victories over Jose Mari Hechanova and King Stehmeier, respectively; Inigo won by default over Lyndon Barril; Dumandan came up with the day's most-lopsided win, a 6 and 4 victory over Yaye Escuadro; Bondoc beat Bobby Celestino 2 and 1 and Alejandro whipped Marc Lopez 4 and 2.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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