July 18, 2024

■  Harley F. Palangchao

University of the Cordilleras Jaguars Ranz Balay-odao has emerged as this year’s overall champion in the annual match play of Pines Kumpadres Golf Club Inc., one of the biggest golf organizations in Northern Luzon.

At age 21, Balay-odao remains undefeated since the qualification rounds up to the semifinals, edging some of the highly competitive amateur golfers in the Cordillera.

PKGCI MATCH PLAY CHAMP — University of the Cordilleras Jaguars Raz Louie Balay-odao won as overall champion in the 2024 match play of Pinewoods Golf & Country Club following his match with Erwin Killip in the finals on June 30. — Warren Dagupon

The UC Business Administration student edged out Erwin Killip in the finals, 5-4, to seal the win at Pinewoods Golf & Country Club in Baguio City on June 29.

In keeping with tradition, PKGCI officials and former champions, including tournament director Warren Dagupon handed over to Balay-odao the overall trophy at Hole 18.

Earlier, Balay-odao placed fifth overall in the 2024 North Philippine Developmental Intercollegiate Golf Series in April at the Royal Northwoods Golf Club in Bulacan.

Meanwhile, the class C match play championship went to Roel Lami-ing who also had a good start like Killip.

Old reliable Fred Dacyon clinched the class D championship trophy, as he also edged out equally skilled senior golfers.

Last year, seasoned golfer Dai Tsuchiya won as overall champion in the match play also held at PGCC.

Tsuchiya is a perennial individual and team event champion in some of the biggest tournaments in the country, such as the Fil-Am Invitational Golf, routed Marty Manayos in their battle of champions match.