JUNIOR GOLF: 8-YEAR-0LD SAVES DAY FOR RP

San Diego, California, July 19, 2003 By Lito A. Tacujan (Star) A wisp of a girl from Poveda delivered where the fancied ones have failed.

Ma. Andrea Unson, 8, who’s into serious training only last September, sneaked in from six shots down with a closing four-over par 58 and claimed runner-up honors in Class E in the Callaway Junior World golf championship in five venues here Thursday.

That saved the day for the Filipinos as top bet Wolen Juan Superal, tested no end with high-level competition he never encountered back home, succumbed to poor putting and finished with two-over par 60 for 168 and fourth place in Class D (9-10).

The 10-year old Superal wept at the scorer’s tent for his worst round in three days, starting birdie-birdie but gradually falling apart as he lost his putting touch that led to four three-putts, including one on the final hole that cost him third overall.

Word champion Dottie Ardina also finished fourth as she literally left her bid hanging on the branch of a tree where her ball nestled on the 14th for a triple bogey.

She fought back with late birdies but could only finish one-under 58 and 173.

Los Angeles bet Danniel Frazier made a bristling seven under par 52 for 165 and humbled the favored Tanya Widahwa (59-167) for the title while Molly Plomartis (56-170) took third.

Connecticut’s Cameroon Wilson completed his romp with 56-164, beating Panapol Pittayrat (54-164) in sudden death for the boys’ crown.

Thus RP’s strongest bid for a crown vanished into the desert air of Singing Hills this hot summer day, putting a dent to an otherwise impressive run by the Filipinos.

Three others actually finished in the top six in their divisions — Miguel Tabuena, sixth in Presidio and John Kier Abdon and Debbie De Villa sixth and joint fourth, respectively, in Class C at Lawrence Welk. Abdon had a closing 60 for 183 in the division won by William Ovenden ( 57-173) and De Villa 64 for 193 with Jayne Roh winning it with 66-185.

Miko Alejandro had 76 for 220 and tie for 27th and Mikee Camitoc a 75 for a tie at 42nd in Class B boys at Cottonwood in the category topped by Anujit of Thailand (67-209).

" Maganda ang performance ng mga bata pero hindi lang para sa atin ang korona," said jungolf chief Gerry Handog.

There were 15 qualifiers in all for the RP team counting Jayvie Agojo (79-231) and Justin Tambunting (75-228) in Class A in Torrey Pines.

The Philippine contingent is sponsored by Philippine Airlines, Samsung Phils., Airlift Asia, Philippine Sports Commission, Global Lightings and MCCI.

Taking up serious golf under coach Bong Lopez last September, Unson made an immediate impact on this San Diego golf bash which her family only heard of from the mom of another kid late last year.

She carded the best round in the day over a course toughened up for the final day and amassed 174 which was better than the winning 175 card of Ardina last year.

"They pushed the tee mounds back and made it the toughest in three days. But it’s okay because it turned (the event) more exciting and tested the capabilities of the children," said her father Rene Unson.

Ma. Christina Potenciano took a disastrous turn after actually seizing the lead over eventual winner Alisson Lee in the sixth hole.

They were rushed up for slow play and Potenciano lost her poise she double-bogeyed and made an eight on a penalty for hitting a ball in motion on the next two holes. She had 66-181 for seventh place.

Tabuena, who seemed to have found his form with a one under in the second round, had two chip-in birdies but just couldn’t put it all together for a 56 and sixth place. The other RP bets JR Gonzales and JP de Claro had 60 and 61, respectively, with Ben Doyle of San Diego taking the crown (49-160).

Over at the centerpiece Class A in Torrey Pines, Terence Macatangay carded 79-239, Carl Santos-Ocampo a 83 for 243, Aran Olea 89-251 and Matet Salivio 80-236.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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