A 58-year-old female entrepreneur shone off the blue tees but the third day of the 35th Mango Tee was marred by the disqualification of two low-handicapped players at the Alabang Country Club in Muntinlupa on Wednesday.
Gia Suarez, a 24-handicapper, played her best-ever round, shooting a gross 89, and was surprised to be in contention in the overall net division.
Suarez, who bought a new driver and three-wood which came in handy, said everything in her game clicked despite playing on the same tees as the men.
She parred seven holes, including the fifth which gave her a net eagle.
Suarez finished with 43 points and got a solid 32 points from former Muntinlupa Mayor Aldrin San Pedro to move just two points behind idle Roberto Atendido Jr. and Vicente Valdez in the overall net division.
“We didn’t know we were contending but Aldrin played well, too,” the 58-year-old entrepreneur said.
Suarez said she took up the sport in 2013 and started to play regularly during the pandemic.
“I play thrice a week here at Alabang and Sta. Elena,” she said.
“It’s a good thing I’m used to the fast greens at Sta. Elena. I didn’t have a problem with the speed of the greens.”
Suarez credited her improvement to Miko Alejandro, the current coach of the national team.
“I was able to follow all his teachings today, especially on the greens,” she said.
Orchard champion Gab Macalagium and Neil Arce made their move in the absence of winds but later found to their dismay that they signed the wrong scorecard.
Arce, who plays to a 6-handicap, returned to the clubhouse and disqualified himself and his partner, a 2-handicapper, after signing for 4s on the par-5 18th.
He said they were confused because their caddies encircled their par scores.
Arce, who admitted to not having checked their scores after seeing the circles, said they noticed the disparity at home after checking their scores online.
Tournament director Benjie Sumulong had nothing but praise for Arce and Macalagium.
“These are the guys I want to play with,” Sumulong said.
Before the disqualification, Arce and Macalagium had moved to second place, nine shots behind defending champions Jorge Gallent and Junjun Plana in the overall net race.
It turned out, however, the pair just scored 63 instead of 65, leading to their disqualification.
The other leaders were Lyu Changsuk-Oh Young Gwon (75) in Group A, Raymond Anthony Mendoza-Paulo Legaspi and Ricky de Castro-Daniel Samaniego (74) in Group B, Atendido-Valdez in Group C, and Carolina Nielsen-Joy Sevilla in Group D.
The event’s presenters are Smart, Petron, San Miguel, and Jewelmer.
The Turf Company, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, Philippine Business Bank/Zesto, Merry Mart and Global Ferronickel are the major sponsors.
Also supporting the Mango Tee as premium sponsors are Unilab and Jewelmer.
Hole-in-one sponsors are Auto Nation Group Inc., Volvo Cars Phils., Lexus Philippines, Citimotors, Gransportivo, Venture Motorcycle Sales Corp., G&W Clubshares and Starlux.
Hole sponsors include Ayala Land, Asian Hospital, Tipsy Pig, Cotecna, Delta Neo/El Jardin, CTBC Bank, Golfers Clubshare, GG&A Clubshare, Alog Company, IQOS, iPrudential, 515 Group, Standard Insurance, Icoon Company;
City Service, Pacsports, Srixon, Golf Depot, Airport House of Wine, Ralphs Wine, 357 Boracay, Omnisource, Prestige Golf Access and Clubshares Inc., S&R, Mamalous, Bluesmith, Barcino, Fusion Pro, Primea Discovery, Marriot Manila and Courtyard Marriot.
Daily Tribune is the event’s media partner.