Frankie Miñoza
Frankie Miñoza

Frankie Miñoza made the most of his break from the Japan Golf Tour as he ruled the ICTSI Pueblo de Oro Championships with a closing two-under par 70 for a one-stroke victory over Richard Sinfuego at the Pueblo de Oro Golf and Country Club here yesterday.

The 49-year-old Miñoza, showing he still got what it takes to win, birdied three of the last five holes then watched erstwhile leader Elmer Salvador self-destruct with a double-bogey on the final hole to clinch the victory in the event, the fourth leg of a 10-stage circuit put up by the International Container Terminal Services, Inc.

With his earlier rounds of 70-69, Miñoza wound up with a seven-under par 209 and took the top P200,000 purse staked in the 54-hole tournament backed by MJ Carr Golf Management, Pisanti, Srixon, FAMI, Business Mirror, Motorola, Omnisource and Pepsico.

“It’s nice to win even when you’re hitting 50,” said the reticent Miñoza, who will mark his golden year in December.

He said patience and experience keyed his triumph, his first local win since he annexed his second Philippine Open crown in 2007 at Wack Wack. Miñoza, who will resume his campaign in the lucrative Japan circuit on July 19 after taking time off last week in Bukidnon, later treated Pueblo’s caddies, tee and locker room personnel to a dinner.

Miñoza, who started the final round one shot behind Salvador, indeed stayed cool despite falling farther back by two at the turn with a birdie-less 37. But after four straight pars at the back, he gunned down a birdie on No.14, parred the par-5 15th then came through with back-to-back birdies to seize the lead for good.

Salvador, who had a couple of runner-up finishes in the revival of the local tour late last year, appeared headed for a breakthrough win an opening 35. But like in his past campaigns, he wavered in the closing holes, dropping two strokes on the par-3 13th to drop out of the lead. He birdied the par-5 17th like the majority of contenders but double-bogeyed the last to tumble down to joint fourth at 212.

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