SILANG, Cavite, Philippines – Elmer Salvador turned what was expected to be a shootout into a blowout as he romped off with a whopping five-stroke victory over Thai Pavit Tangkamolprasert and Peter Richardson of England with a closing 68, outclassing an elite field to capture the $60,000 Asian Development Tour ICTSI Riviera Classic crown here yesterday.
Salvador lost his overnight one-shot lead with a shaky start and trailed Tangkamolprasert by one after No. 6. But like in moving day Friday where he blitzed the tough Langer layout’s middle holes with four birdies to seize control, Salvador hit three birdies in a four-hole stretch from No. 7, this time in scorching heat, to regain control. He added two more birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 to secure the win, ending a year-long title spell that began when he ruled the Aboitiz Invitational in Cebu for the second straight time last year.
“It’s nice to win again on ADT and I would like to believe I’m a bit lucky on this circuit. I just hope to sustain my form as the tour heads to Orchard next week,” said Salvador, who emerged the lone player among the surviving 52 to finish the 72-hole championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. with a run of under-par cards, including a 69, a 70 and a 66, for an 11-under 273 aggregate worth $10,500 (P450,000).
“I just told myself not to commit so many mistakes because it’s hard to make recovery shots here at Langer. I regained my confidence after I went 2-up again after nine holes,” said Salvador, who chipped in for birdie on No. 7, banged in an eight-footer for birdie on the next and tapped in for another birdie on the 10th. He had two more birdies after that – one from eight feet and then a pitch-in birdie from 20 yards.
Richardson fought back with a 67 to tie a faltering Tangkamolprasert at second at 278 worth $5,550 each. The Thai sputtered with three bogeys in the last seven holes for a 72.
Miguel Tabuena rallied with four birdies in the first 13 holes but missed gaining solo second with bogeys on Nos. 14 and 17, settling for a 69 for solo fourth at five-under 279. He took home $3,360.
Robert Pactolerin, one behind Salvador in a tie with Tangkamolprasert at the start of the round, grabbed a share of the lead with a par on No. 2 but that was the closest he could get for a crack at the title as he made three straight bogeys from No. 4 and made the turn with another back-to-back bogeys.
But he fought back with a 34 at the back and wound up with a 74 for solo fifth at 280, his best finish since he won the Bacolod leg of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour in 2011. He took home $2,640.
The win also makes Salvador the top favorite as the ADT field moves to the Orchard Golf Championship in Dasmariñas, Cavite next week, capping a two-week ADT swing on local soil.
After Salvador and Tangkamolprasert bogeyed the tough par-4 No. 2, the Thai tied Salvador at the helm with a birdie on the next and grabbed the lead with another birdie on the sixth and the Filipino ace muffing his own birdie-bid from seven feet.
But that missed putt failed to discourage Salvador. In fact, it motivated him as he birdied No. 7 to tie again, then took a two-shot lead on a two-shot swing on the next with a birdie from six feet whenTangkamolprasert missed a par-putt from just about the same distance.
Still, Tangkamolprasert refused to give up, birdying No. 11 to pull within one again, only to reel back with another bogey on the next and Salvador took a three-shot cushion with another birdie on No. 13.