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Zaragosa cruises to Match Play quarters

Rupert Zaragosa picked up two easy wins and nailed the first quarterfinal berth as the fancied bets breezed through the Philippine Amateur Open Match Play Golf Championship at the Orchard Golf and Country Club’s Player course in Dasmariñas, Cavite yesterday.

Zaragosa, who closed out with a bogey-free 69 to top the 36-hole stroke play elims Tuesday, toppled No. 32 Alexi Garzon, 8&6, in the first match of the knockout phase then clobbered Japanese Takuya Kawamura, 6&5, in sweltering afternoon play to advance to the Last 8 of the annual event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation and held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour.

No. 2 Jolo Magcalayo struggled but hurdled Korean Won Yong Hwi just the same, 2&1, to arrange a second round duel with Lester Lagman, who nipped another Korean, Back Seung Hyeon, 1-up, in the lower half of the 32-player draw in the men’s side of the weeklong event organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and backed by Cignal and Metro Pacific Investment.

Third seed Luis Castro also fashioned out an easy 7&6 romp over Peter Asinas, No. 4 and defending champion Noel Langamin routed Tommy Leong, 5&3, fifth ranked Jonas Magcalayo scored a walkover win over Gabby Macalaguin, No. 6 Carlo Villaroman edged Leandro Bagtas, 2&1, seventh seed Aniceto Mandanas ousted Joseph Orbito, 5&3, No. 8 Kristoffer Arevalo crushed Airon Sorino, 4&3, ninth seed Peter Po rolled past Steven Ferrer, 6&5, and No. 10 Richnell Albano sailed past Jay Anderson, 6&5.

Others who advanced were Liam Cully, who nipped Natahn Kawpeng, 1-up, GJ Katigbak, who downed Ralph Lauron, 3&2, and Dan Cruz, who dominated Alex Trinos, 5&3. All were disputing the seven other quarters berths at presstime.

Zaragosa and the other quarterfinalists brace for another grueling day with two sets of matches slated today with the winners in afternoon play disputing the crown tomorrow in a marathon 36-hole duel.

With top seed Yuka Saso, No. 2 Harmie Constantino, third seed Sofia Blanco and No. 4 Kayla Nocum drawing opening round byes, Koreans Yang Ju Young and Kim Hui Won beat their respective rivals to clinch quarterfinal seats.

Yang clipped compatriot Kang Da Yeon, 4&3, while Kim turned back Rev Alcantara, 3&1, in the upper half of the women’s draw.