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Saso romps to 13-shot victory

Yuka Saso rode on a scorching frontside run to complete a record 13-shot romp while Kim Joo Hyung cruised to a seven-stroke victory as they dominated the Philippine Junior Amateur Open Golf Championships (Strokeplay) for the second straight time at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Trece Martirez, Cavite yesterday.

Twelve-up over Harmie Constantino after 54 holes, the in-form Saso never let up and sizzled with a 31 spiked by a second eagle in four days at the par-5 No. 8, posting leads of as many as 16 before slowing down with a double bogey-marred 38 for that 69.

The reigning national champion, also the World Junior Girls gold medalist in Canada last year, pooled a 12-under 276 to retain the crown while securing her spot in the national team competing in the Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia in August.

The event, part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines, served as third and final leg of the NGAP SEAG national team qualifier.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Amateur Open Match Play Golf Championship will be held April 24-28 at the Orchard Golf and Country Club in Dasmariñas, Cavite. For details, call NGAP at (02) 706-5926 or Orchard at (02) 982-2000 local. 2241 or email ngap2009handicap@yahoo.com, or visit www.ngaponline.net.

Constantino failed to match Saso’s bristling start although she put in a pair of 35s for a 70 and 289 while Junia Gabasa placed third with a 296 after a 76 followed by Kristine Torralba (75-304), Nicole Abelar (76-306), Korean Yang Ju Young (75-308), Kayla Nocum (76-309), China’s Ji Keyi (76-317), Jona Magcalayo (79-319) and Sunshine Zhang (80-324).

Kim gunned down three birdies in another scorching day to negate a two-bogey mishap, his 36-35 card giving him 283 aggregate, seven clear of Weiwei Gao, who rallied with a 69 to snatch second place at 290. Carlo Gatmaytan matched par 72 to finish tied for third at 291 with erstwhile challenger Ryan Monsalve, who faltered with a 73.

First day leader Carl Corpus bounced back with a 69 to place fifth at 293 while Jolo Magcalayo shot the day’s best 68 to grab sixth spot at 296 followed by Paolo Wong (72-300), Perry Bucay (76-302), Josh Jorge (72-307) and Peter Po (81-311).