Lois Kaye Go hacked out a tough all-square result with Ashley Lau, pre-serving Bianca Pagdanganan’s victory over Natasha Oon in match play finals and securing the Philippines’s sweep of the gold medals in women’s golf in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at Luisita Golf and Country Club last week.
The LPGA Tour-bound Pagdanganan, who clinched the individual gold via a three-stroke romp over Thai Kan Bunnabodee on Friday, completed her unbeaten campaign in her last event as an amateur, posting a 3 and 2 triumph over Malaysia’s top player although she — and the entire team that included Abby Arevalo and the men’s squad — had to wait for Go to salvage a point in her tense-filled duel with Lau to clinch the team gold.
And the University of South Carolina mainstay delivered, matching Lau’s pars in the last three holes to force an all-square match and seal a 1.5-.5 victory for the hosts. Go pumped her fist after holing out then hugged Pagdanganan to celebrate the sweep last fashioned out by Princess Superal, who won the individual gold and teamed up with Katrina Pelen Briones and Clare Legaspi to dominate the 2013 Games in Myanmar.
“We won as a team and everyone contributed,” said Pagdanganan, whose double-gold feat will surely boost her confidence when she slugs it out with the world’s best in the LPGA starting January. “It was a great accomplishment for all of us.”
Truly, it was a big achievement for the Pinays who came into the event confident but wary of the level of the opposition, particularly the Thailand side that prepared long and hard in a bid to sweep the four gold medals after winning three in the last SEAG in Kuala Lumpur.
But Pagdanganan foiled them in the individual competition, Go produced clutch shots in team play and Arevalo provided the big push in the final round (individual) to help net the host the top seeding in match play.
“It’s a very special win, especially with this group,” said Go, who annexed the lone bronze medal for Team PH in Kuala Lumpur.
“It’s a nice feeling winning on home court,” said Arevalo.
Go, member of the Asian Games gold-medal team that included bronze medalist Pagdanganan and gold-medal winner Yuka Saso, actually cashed in on Lau’s bogeys and took two of the first four holes but the Malaysian drew level on the seventh before the Cebuana ace won two of the next four holes while yielding one to go 1-up heading to No. 15, which she bogeyed, enabling Lau to stay in the match.
In stark contrast, Pagdanganan fell behind by two holes after Oon, who upended world No. 1 Atthaya Thitikul in their semis playoff to carry Malaysia past Thailand to the finals Saturday, birdied Nos. 4 and 5.
But the former Arizona Wildcats standout quickly recovered and took the next two holes to draw level then won Nos. 12 and 13 to go 2-up and birdied the par-five 16th to wrap up the match.
The men’s team of Luis Castro, Aidric Chan, Carl Corpus and Sean Ramos snatched the bronze medal by nipping Indonesia in a playoff on Castro’s victory over Jonathan Wijono on the second sudden death hole.
It was the country’s first medal in men’s play since Mhark Fernando, Jhonnel Ababa, Tonlits Asistio and Jude Eustaquio bagged the bronze in the 2009 Games in Vientiane, Laos.