Kiara Montebon, Athena Batican score girls’ crowns for Team Mindanao

The Manolo Fortich National High School rocked the inaugural JGFP Interschool National Finals by winning the Senior High crown at the Caliraya Springs Golf & Country Club in Cavinti, Laguna on Sunday, February 11, 2024.

Keith Pagalan rode on a good start to shoot a seven-over-par 79 to lead Manolo Fortich’s final day charge. He reached the turn on 1-under after four birdies against a bogey and double bogey.

Relentless winds battered the Palmer course throughout the day, and Pagalan’s performance took a downturn. He dropped eight shots on the back nine.

Medyo nerbiyos na rin,” grinned Pagalan who did not count in the first round. “Ang game plan namin is huwag mag score ng 10-over bawat isa.”

Manolo Fortich finished 54 holes on 72-over 720, eight strokes ahead of fancied De la Salle Santiago Zobel.

Simon Wahing and Cody Langamin carded an 80 and 81, respectively as the Bukidnon-based school matched DLSZ’s final-day output to snag the inaugural diadem.

The Manolo Fortich National High School Seniors High Champion Team with Bukidnon Vice Governor Clive Quiño & Manolo Fortich Kag. Rina Quiño (photo courtesy of Kag. Rina Quiño)

“This is particularly special because it gives kids more experience in a National level,” noted Gil Blas M. Velez, JGFP Director for Northern Mindanao. “Exposure to this type of environment is very important at a young age for character development. To represent their school, play against the best players in a National level, it challenges them, it gives the stage to bring out their best, and to gauge themselves against higher level competition. It will only make them better competitors in the long run.”

Zach Castro won the individual crown after a closing 75 but failed to get solid support from his DLSZ teammates. John Canlas and Troy Nagata struggled with an 87 and 91, respectively.

Beacon Academy, despite drawing a 75 from Santino Pineda, finished with a 732 to settle for third.

Bannered as Manolo Fortich Team 1, the team seized a two-stroke lead from first round leader Beacon Academy with a second round 239 to bring its total to 480, and managed to hold on in the final round Sunday.

Xhylas Luzon bucked a poor start to salvage a three-over-par 75 while Simon Wahing and Keith Pagalan added 80 and 84, respectively.

Kiara Montebon of Abba’s Orchard won the girls’ championship on 23-over 239, closing with a 77. Second place went to Erika Tan of Immaculate Conception Academy who posted a 271.

In Middle School, Athena Batican of Oro Christian Grace School scored another win for Mindanao when she outdueled Aerin Chan of Saint Pedro Poveda College for the girls’ crown.
Tied before the start of the round, the nine-year-old Batican edged her older opponent by four points.

“JGFP has brought a platform of inclusiveness by having players not just from Mindanao, but to different parts of the country to shine and be proud to represent their respective schools. I would like to congratulate all the winners, most especially Manolo Fortich National High School, Kiara Montebon, and Athena Batican for a job well done,” Velez said.

At least 25 junior golfers from seven schools in Mindanao participated in the in the first-ever Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines (JGFP) Interschool National Finals at the Caliraya Springs Golf Club in Cavinti, Laguna which teed off on Friday, February 9th.

Representing Mindanao were Abba’s Orchard, Oro Christian Grace School, Manolo Fortich National High School, Corpus Christi School, Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, Rosevale School, and Del Monte School in the first ever clash between North and South junior golfers  sanctioned by the JGFP led by its president Oliver Gan.

Team Mindanao with Del Monte School Official, Abbas Orchard, Cagayan De Oro City, Manolo Fortich National High School , Oro Christian Grace School and Rosevale School, Xavier Estates, Cdo with JGFP President Oliver Gan and Mrs. Han Gaisano Gan. Special thanks to Mdm. Tiffany Copok, major sponsor for the MFNHS team. (photo courtesy of Kag. Rina Quiño)

De la Salle Santiago Zobel was the top seeded team in the Middle School, Junior High, and Senior High, while Homeschool Global was the team to beat in the Lower School.

The other participating schools were Xavier School, Immaculate Conception Academy, Ateneo de Manila, Beacon Academy, and International School Manila.

Schools represented in the individual competition are Coral na Bato Elementary School, Assumption, Poveda, Everest, Gracewood Academy Noblesse International, Uno High School, Saint Pedro Poveda College, Learning Links Academy, Letran Calamba, Mary Help of Christian College, Imus National High School, Mother Goose Special Science High School, and National University Laguna.

Among the standouts who saw action were Nicole Gaisano Gan, Precious Zaragosa, Aerin Chan, Alex Mauricio,  and Race Phoenix Manhit, who all played in the recent Asian Junior Masters.

A total of 120 participants vied in the event that used a shot-gun style in the morning and afternoon at the Palmer course.

 “We hope that this will encourage more parents to introduce their child to the game of golf, the lessons they learn through the game which they can carry all through their lives. We also hope that next year, we will have more schools participate and be part of this wonderful event,” Velez remarked.

The final  team standings in Senior High and Middle School divisions:

Senior High (team) – Manolo Fortich Team 1 720 (241-239-240), Dela Salle Santiago-Zobel 728 (233-253-242), Beacon Academy 732 (238-244-250), International School Manila 760 (257-242-261), 257, Manolo Fortich Team 2 768 (259-252-257), Abbas Orchard 791 (256-272-263)

Middle School (team) – Ateneo Team 2 390 (124-135-131), Ateneo Team 1 361, DLS-Z 336 (106-114-116), Oro Christian Grace School 225 (75-73-77), Rosevale School 205 (71-69-65)

(with a report from golf pinoy dotcom)


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