May 26, 2024

Cordillera’s golfing pride Paolo Luigi Wong’s superb play in the fourth round with three-under par 71 made him the overall champion in the men’s elite division of the 2022 NGAP Riviera Amateur Open at the Langer course of the Riviera Golf and Country Club in Silang, Cavite recently.

The 21-year-old Wong of Ibaloy ancestry from La Trinidad, Benguet was down by four strokes from overnight leader Kim Tao Soo of South Korea, 221-225, after the third round held in one of the most difficult golf courses in the country.

But Wong, who is in the country for a break from his schooling in the United States, carded a bogey-free three under 71 on the fourth and final round to win by three strokes against the latter.

Wong’s 68 on the final round gave him the lowest total of 293 followed by Kim with 296 while Schinichi Suzuki completed the top three winners with an aggregated score of 298.

Completing the top 10 are the younger members of the Philippine Amateur Golf Team.

After representing the Philippines in world amateur tournaments and in Southeast Asian Games, Wong is currently a senior golf scholar of San Jose State University in California.

The most accomplished amateur golfer from the Cordillera has been out of the game for a long time due to wrist injury that needed surgery.

The ladies’ elite division, meanwhile, was topped by Inez Ng of Singapore.

Other winners in the lower divisions were siblings Raymond and Erik Escalona, who completed a family sweep of the mid-amateur while Alan Alegre rallied from seven down to beat two-day leader August Cruz in the seniors open.

Raymond Escalona topped the mid-amateur 1 while his brother, Erik, won the mid-amateur 2 overall trophy.

Efren Alvez entered an extra hole sudden-death playoff with Ryan Abdon to win the super senior division. – Harley F. Palangchao