Mamat romps to Philippine Open victory


Singaporean veteran Mardan Mamat coasted to a five-stroke victory in the fourth round of the $300,000 ICTSI Philippine Open on Sunday, putting an end to a six-year winless run. The emotional 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, completing a wire-to-wire victory with an eight-under-par 280 aggregate. Mo Joong-kyung of Korea threatened briefly before finishing a distant second, 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.
However, it was a heartbreaking end to local teen sensation Miguel Tabuena’s tournament, who started the final round one shot back of Mamat but faded badly with an 81 to settle for a share of 11th position. After tapping in for his lone bogey on 18, Mamat fell to his knees as he celebrated his return to the winner’s enclosure. He later he broke down in tears when asked how he had made it through the barren six years without a win. “My wife 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.” “It feels great. It’s always good to win a tournament, especially the oldest national Open in Asia,” the delighted Singaporean added.