Guido van der Valk nips Miguel Tabuena to claim ICTSI Splendido Taal Championship crown

·2 min read

Guido Van der Valk pulled off all the stops down the stretch to take down Miguel Tabuena in sudden death and capture the title in the ICTSI Splendido Taal Championship on Friday in Laurel, Batangas.

Van der Valk sank an incredible birdie putt from way out on the 72nd hole to tie then took advantage of Miguel Tabuena’s pulled drive in sudden death to pull off the title-clinching win.

Van der Valk pulled through on an early blast to battle back from 2-down to 2-up over Clyde Mondilla but lost a two-stroke lead in the face of Tabuena’s final round blitz that featured two eagles in a flight ahead. But the Manila-based Dutch came through with that incredible putt from the fringe on No. 18 to spike a closing 68 and force a playoff at 16-under 272.

“That’s ridiculous. It’s probably the longest putt I ever made in my career to get a crack at the championship, But it happens,” said van der Valk after his win.

One down heading to the par-4 closing hole, van der Valk hit a good drive but slipped with his right foot on his approach, the ball landing on what he described as “long, long way off the hole with a massive break.”

But he did the unthinkable then rode that momentum to frustrate Tabuena with another solid drive on their return to No. 18 then hacked his approach shot, this time, to within seven feet.

In contrast, Tabuena pulled his drive then hit a shot from under the tree to the right side of the green. His chip went past the hole and needed two putts to hole out.

Freed of the pressure, van der Valk flubbed his birdie bid then tapped in for par to clinch the victory worth P360,000.

Tabuena had appeared headed to annexing his third victory at the Greg Norman-designed layout as he rallied from six down to storm ahead by two on a six-under blitz in a five-hole stretch from No. 9. But he bogeyed the tough No. 16 for the second straight day and settled for a one-stroke lead at the end of regulation on a fiery 64 in scorching conditions.

But van der Valk never lost hope although it looked like he did after barely reaching the 18th green.

“I was just lucky it went in,” he said.

Tabuena received P236,000.

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