Cebuano Charles Hong bags breakthrough pro title with victory in ICTSI Pueblo de OroBy Jonas Panerio
Cebu Daily News
Cebuano golfer Charles “Chuckie” Hong sizzled with a final round score of seven-under 65 then outlasted Richard Sinfuego in the playoff hole to capture his first title in the pro tour, topping the ICTSI Pueblo de Oro Championship at the Pueblo layout in Cagayan de Oro City yesterday.
In just his second year as a pro, Hong overcame the odds to nab his first professional crown.
Previously, his best finish was just sixth at the ICTSI Sherwood Hills this year. In what was his defining moment in the circuit, Hong nearly came up with a pitch-in birdie while Sinfuego, who also closed out with a solid 67, foiled his chances with an errant second shot for bogey. Both finished with eight-under 208s.
The win notched Hong the grand prize of P200,000.
“This win means so much for my career,” said Hong in a press statement. “Everyone is always looking forward for his first win.”
It was a fitting ending to an explosive windup by the winning coach of Team South in the country’s version of the Ryder Cup duel last June, who trailed Sinfuego by two after 36 holes and fell behind by four with a bogey on No. 1 coupled by Sinfuego’s birdie. But he suddenly went hot by coming up with a cluster of birdies from No. 5 to tie Sinfuego but reeled back again with another bogey on the ninth.
Rufino Bayron, the third man in the championship flight, stayed within one during that stretch, even after Hong opened the backside with another birdie to tie again. But Bayron stepped aside when Hong and Sinfuego slugged it out in a thrilling shootout the last eight holes.