SAN DIEGO – Make that a triple treat for the Philippines in the Callaway Junior World golf championships.
Fil-American Rico Hoey upset the tournament favorite – Beau Hossler Jr. – with a couple of big, bold shots on the closing holes in winning the 15-17 years division at the Torrey Pines south course on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
Born and raised by his Filipino parents in Southern California, the 16-year-old Hoey capped a closing three-under-par 69 with two-putted for birdie on the water-laced 18th hole to beat Hossler, best remembered for briefly holding the lead in the third round of the US Open over the PGA Tour stars at the Olympic Club in San Francisco last month, by a stroke
Hoey finished at 286 for his third title in the Junior World after ruling the 9-10 and 11-12 age-groups while Hossler wound up at 287 after a 73. Gio Gandionco, the top gun of the 42-strong Philippine contingent, ballooned to an 81 and finished tied for 39th out ofthe 53 survivors of the third round cut-off.
Hoey’s victory came on the heels of scintillating victories posted by Jed Dy in the boys 7-8 years and Bernice Olivarez-Ilas in the girls 9-10 years on Thursday aside from three other top 10 finishes by Mia Legaspi and Sam Martirez (girls 13-14) and Harmie Constantino (girls 11-12).
The strong performance elicited a congratulatory message from jungolf’s foremost patron, Ricky Razon of the International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
"Congratulations and job well done," was the text message sent by Razon to Luigi Tabuena, president of the Jungolf Foundation of the Philippines who served as the head of the national delegation here.
The ICTSI support has allowed JGFP to expand its year-round circuit and provide jungolfers the opportunity to hone their talents for international events. Philippine Airlines also provides category champions of the local Junior World qualifying free tickets to Los Angeles.
Tabuena was able to get in touch with Hoey's father Dickie who was a classmate in high school at La Salle Greehills.
"He (Rico Hoey) is definitely national team material," said Tabuena.
Meanwhile, Thailand's Benyapa Niphatsophon won the girls 15-17 years by seven strokes at Torrey Pines north. RP bets Andie Unson (78-300) and Princess Superal (78-301) came in tied for 30th and 32nd, respectively.