Manila, Philippines: Ira Christian Alido pulled off an extraordinary come-from-behind victory in the eighth edition of the Faldo Series Philippines Championship.
Trailing tournament favourite Rupert Zaragosa by 10 strokes with just nine holes remaining, it was Alido who eventually prevailed on the first hole of a sudden-death play-off in the 54-hole World Amateur Golf Ranking [WAGR] event.
For 14-year-old Alido, a student at De La Salle Zobel, it was a stunning upset win that is sure to raise his stock and propel him into the golfing limelight in his home country.
While Alido snared five birdies for an inward 32 and a closing one-under-par 70, Zaragosa suffered a late wobble at Beverly Place Golf Club in Pampanga, about 70 kilometres north of the capital Manila.
After three successive bogeys to open the back nine, Zaragosa steadied the ship by covering the next four holes in even-par. But the national team representative then came unstuck at the par-five 17th where he ran-up a double-bogey seven.
A par at the long 18th meant he signed for a 78 – no fewer than 13 shots worse than his sparkling opening-round 65 that saw him leap to the top of the leaderboard. Following that up with a 69, Zaragosa appeared set fair for a runaway success.
Instead he ended with a three-day aggregate of one-under 212, losing out on the overall title to Alido in extra time in the 14th leg of the record-breaking 2015-2016 Faldo Series Asia season.
For Zaragosa, 284th in the WAGR, there was at least the consolation of winning the Boys’ Under-18 category, thus ensuring himself a passage to Mission Hills China next March for the 10th anniversary Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo.
As well as Zaragosa and Alido, flying the flag for the Philippines at Mission Hills will be Jan Philippe De Claro, who retained his Boys’ Under-21 title, Rev Alcantara (Girls’ Under-21 winner) and Ashia Nocum (Girls’ Under-16 winner).
Six-time Major winner Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “Congratulations to Ira on a spectacular performance and also to Rupert for his outstanding play on the first two days.
“At any level of golf, to overhaul a 10-shot deficit with just nine holes to go is a remarkable effort. Ira deserves tremendous credit for persevering and refusing to throw in the towel. It just goes to show that in golf you have to keep going to the very end and try your hardest on every single shot. If you do that, you never know what might happen.”
Supported by The R&A and Mission Hills and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2015-16 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months and will include a minimum of 21 events in 17 countries including, for the first time, Australia.