2014 Mabuhay Miles Elite Invitational Golf Tournament
Roberto breaks through as first female Mabuhay Miles golf champ
Lora Roberto drove and putted her way into the record books with a scintillating round at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club here last week to become the first female winner of the Mabuhay Miles Elite Invitational.
Roberto showed a steady hand on the greens with a tournament-high 13 pars, along with two birdies, to finish with a gross score of 75, enough to edge Tuan Nguyen as low gross champion.
Tuan was a stroke back at 76 but his higher 8 handicap ensured him the low net title with a 68, his second after bagging the same trophy in 2008.
The two bested a field of 201 players – all Elite, Premier Elite and Million Miler members of Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay Miles program – who competed in the event backed by major sponsors Airbus, Boeing, MasterCard, Petron Corp. and Philippine National Bank.
Though historic in itself, Roberto’s breakthrough triumph was almost expected. The dusky veteran is the most successful female player in the Invitational, winning the Ladies division crown in 2009 and back-to-back in 2012 and 2013. She flirted with the overall net title the past two years, missing both by a stroke.
This time, there was no denying her. Playing on her home course, Roberto tore through the front nine at the Legends course, stringing seven pars and a birdie to lead Tuan by two strokes at the turn.
Unfazed, Tuan was on a hot streak of his own, shooting the day’s only eagle at the eighth and following that with a birdie at the ninth. However, he was undone by five bogeys on the first seven holes, a burden that weighed on him down the stretch as Roberto coasted to victory.
The tournament had as corporate sponsors Megafiber, AIG Philippines Insurance Co. Inc. and Panasonic Avionics Systems Corp.
Meanwhile, competition in the four regular divisions was tight all throughout, producing dead heats, tie breaks and, in the end, new faces as winners.
Class A, played at the Masters course, had Jesus “Boboy” Romero and Marvin Caparros battling to a tie with net 69s. In the count-back, Romero’s four birdies, the most of any player, trumped Caparros’ three, handing him the division crown. Outgoing low-net titlist Monchu Nolasco was a stroke back at 70.
No one won the luxury vehicle from Toyota Motor Philippines staked for a hole-in-one. Century Park Hotel was the official hotel while Manny O. Wines was the official wine partner of the tournament.
Class B produced a triple tie at the top, with the same net score of 71. But Jason Niu had the superior scorecard, toting two birdies and four pars, to nose out Joseph Limchutick and Gerardo Jaspio for the class title.
Delsey, World Traveller, Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines and Vita Coco were the event’s minor sponsors.
Class C was won by Rey Villar, with a net 71, a stroke clear of Jerome Ngo and Robert Lim, who finished tied at 72.
Over at the Legends course, Class D yielded yet another tie at the top with Jimmy Co, and Vladimir Morata wrestling to a draw with net 73s. In the count-back, Co’s lone birdie gave him the class title. Frederick Piedad closed with a net 76 for third.
Christine Naidoo, Roberto’s teammate in the Manila Southwoods Masters squad that captured its fourth straight PAL Ladies Interclub title in Cebu last October, succeeded her friend as Ladies division champion with a net 69.
Last year’s low-gross winner Lino Magpantay settled for the Seniors division crown this time with a net 71.
Scott Judy won the Guest division with a net 69 out of a gross 84.
Donors included Asia Brewery, Clark Shoes UK, Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila, Diamond Hotel Philippines, EDSA Shangri-La Hotel, Hertz, Holiday Inn Galleria Manila, Holiday Inn & Suites Makati, InterContinental Manila, Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort, Moevenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu, Pan Pacific Manila, Pearl Farm Beach Resort, and Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort and Spa.