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Aussies wrap it up with Rhodes, Frost

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A virtual champ after two rounds, Australia never let up and re-claimed the Asia-Pacific Senior Amateur Championship crown via a whopping 19-shot romp over a rallying New Zealand despite a 301 at the Alabang Country Club yesterday.

Greg Rhodes and Ian Frost carded 74 and 75, respectively, while Gordon Claney shot a 75 and Stefan Albinski chipped in a 77 as the Aussies ran away with the crown with an 898 aggregate that included a 299 and 298.

It was a big bounce back for Australia, which dominated the event the last eight years, winning five, including three straight from 2010, but struggled to finish third in last year’s edition in China won by New Zealand with Japan finishing second.

The Kiwis redeemed themselves from two so-so rounds by shooting the tournament-best 294 for a 917, edging Japan, which shot a 307 for a 918, by one for runner-up honors in the 54-hole tournament sanctioned by the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation and hosted and co-organized by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.

South Korea carded a 309 to place fourth at 923 while Hong Kong-A totaled a 955 after a 326 to end up fifth in the event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, San Miguel Corp., Smart, PLDT, Cleveland, Srixon, the Philippine Sports Commission, Tourism Promotions Board Philippines, and the Department of Tourism.

The Philippines also churned out its best round in three days, a 313 but finished the way it started – at sixth with a 967 as Rolly Viray fired a 76, Abe Avena shot a 77, Richie Garcia added a 79 and Allan Alegre put in an 81.

With the overall team crown in the bag even before the final round was fired off, focus shifted to the individual race with the Aussies slugging it out with Hong Kong’s Douglas Williams for top honors.

But Rhodes proved steadier in the end, birdying the last hole after three pars to save a 74 and captured the crown with a 222, three ahead of Frost and Williams, who ended up with 75 and 77, respectively.

The hosts consoled themselves by taking the International team crown with a 991 after a 319, beating Australia-B, which finished with a 1042 after a 334 and Hong Kong B, which made a 349 for a 1049. Chito Laureta led the team with a 75 while Bong Sison, Dave Hernandez and Rudy Amata had 80, 81 and 83, respectively.

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