Emotional Mardan Savours Manila Triumph

Sun 12 Feb 2012

Emotional Mardan Savours Manila Triumph


Manila, February 12: An emotional Mardan Mamat of Singapore coasted to a comfortable five-stroke victory at the ICTSI Philippine Open to end a six-year winless run on Sunday.


The 44-year-old picked up his third Asian Tour victory with a closing one-under-par 71 at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club’s East course to complete a commanding wire-to-wire victory with an eight-under-par 280 aggregate.

Mo Joong-kyung of Korea threatened briefly before finishing a distant second in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event, signing off with a 74 while top Filipino honours went to Antonio Lascuna who returned a 69 for tied third place with Japan’s Azuma Yano, who signed for a 70.

However, it was heartbreak hotel for Filipino teenager Miguel Tabuena, who started the final round one shot back of Mardan but faded badly with an 81 to settle for a share of 11th position.

After tapping in for his lone bogey on 18, Mardan fell on his knees to celebrate his return into the winner’s enclosure. He later broke in tears when asked if thoughts of not winning had crept into his mind during his barren years.

“My wife (Naz) encouraged and pushed me a lot to practice. She said you love the game so much and why must you quit. There was a time when I said it was time for me to be a golf coach but she said not in your dreams,” said a teary-eyed Mardan.

“It feels great. It’s always good to win a tournament, especially the oldest national Open in Asia. I didn’t do any stupid mistakes and kept my ball in play all the time. The whole week I’m very patient and hit the ball good,” added the Singaporean, who pocketed the top cheque of US$47,550, an OMEGA Seamaster Aqua Terra Golf watch and a BlackBerry smartphone.

With his closest challengers Mo and Tabuena starting poorly, a rock solid Mardan raced three shots clear with a birdie on the fourth hole and by the time he turned in 35, the veteran was six shots clear of the pack. The back nine was a procession as he waltzed to victory.

“After the eighth hole, I was quite relieved. That hole, you can pick up a big number and I managed to get a par. It may have looked easy but it wasn’t easy. There was pressure, especially at the start of the round.

“All the good memories from winning the Singapore Masters (in 2006) came back. When I won then, I led from the first day to the end. That gave me a lot of memories which boosted my confidence,” said Mardan, who also earned a spot in next week’s co-sanctioned Avantha Masters in India.

Mo endured a horrendous opening seven holes, going five over par in seven holes before rallying briefly with four birdies in mid-round to pull to within four shots of Mardan. But the Singaporean tightened his grip with a second birdie of the day on the 14th hole to restore his six shots advantage as Mo bogeyed the same hole.

Chasing a third Asian Tour victory, the Korean rued two poor tee shots which led to his double bogeys on three and seven. “I just hit two bad shots, that was it,” said the Korean. “That can happen on this course. I hit two poor tee shots and made those doubles. The way Mardan was playing, I wasn’t going to catch him. I was just focused on finishing second,” said Mo.

Lascuna finished as top Filipino after a solid round that included four birdies in his outward nine. “I’m super happy to shoot three under. Before teeing off, I had a good feeling. I hit my drives good and I felt I could get it to two or three under. When I saw Mardan standing at eight under, I just focused on finishing second or third. I played with Mardan yesterday and he putted so good. He’s also strong mentally,” said Lascuna.

It was a nightmarish final day for the 17-year-old Tabuena, who was hoping to become the youngest winner of the ICTSI Philippine Open. He turned in 39 with five bogeys against two birdies and his hopes all but vanished with a triple bogey on the 10th following an errant drive into the woods.

“After bogeying the first, my confidence went. I was aiming for fairways and greens but it didn’t happen. I’ll learn from this,” said Tabuena.


Scores after round 4 of the The Asian Tour - ICTSI Philippine Open being played at the par 72, 7,222 Yards Wack Wack GcC course (a- denotes amateur):

280 - Mardan MAMAT (SIN) 69-70-70-71.

285 - MO Joong-kyung (KOR) 72-71-68-74.

287 - Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 71-71-76-69, Azuma YANO (JPN) 69-75-73-70.

288 - Ben FOX (USA) 69-73-74-72.

289 - Adam BLYTH (AUS) 73-70-75-71, Paul DONAHOO (AUS) 71-72-74-72.

290 - Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 73-72-74-71, KIM Gi-whan (KOR) 71-75-72-72, HWANG Inn-choon (KOR) 77-72-67-74.

About the ICTSI Philippine Open

As Asia’s oldest national Championship, the ICTSI Philippine Open is no doubt one of the most prestigious Opens on the Asian Tour calendar. It is title sponsored by the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), which is in the business of acquiring, developing and operating container ports and terminals worldwide. Other sponsors include HSBC (Official Bank), Panasonic Philippines (Official Co-Sponsor), Globe Telecom (Official Roaming & Telecommunications Sponsor), San Miguel (Official Co-Sponsor), Cathay Pacific (Official Airlines), OMEGA (Official Timekeeper) and BlackBerry (Official Smartphone and Tablet Partner).

About the Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), J.Lindeberg (Apparel Partner), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts), Cityneon (Official Event Overlay Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), BlackBerry (Official Smartphgone and Tablet Partner) and Srixon (Official Ball). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.