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Thai rallies from 6 down, wins Luisita

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TARLAC ­– Thai Namchok Tantipokhakul charged back from six strokes down with a brilliant five-under 67 then watched Teemu Putkonen wilt under pressure at the finish to snare the ICTSI Luisita Championship crown by one at the Luisita Golf and Country Club here yesterday.

It was a stirring come-from-behind triumph for the 34-year-old ace from Choburi, who led in the rain-hit first round but dropped to joint third and six off the Finnish with a mediocre 72 Wednesday. But Tantipokhakul worked his way back from third-to-last flight with six birdies against two bogeys after 14 holes then drilled in a clutch birdie on the par-5 16th to finish at 11-under 277 and record his first victory worth $17,500 on Philippine Golf Tour Asia put up by ICTSI.

Namchok Tantipokhakul

Namchok Tantipokhakul

Tantipokhakul, who tied for sixth in the Solaire Philippine Open two weeks ago and wound up joint 10th in this event last year, thus ended the locals’ domination of the region’s emerging circuit after the Filipinos ruled the last five legs of the 2018 PGT Asia season capped by Clyde Mondilla’s two-shot victory over American Nicolas Paez in the Philippine Open at The Country Club.

Putkonen, who took charge in the third round with a second straight 68, fended off a slew of rivals with a par-game after eight holes, kept a two-shot cushion over his nearest pursuers with a birdie on the ninth and held sway with a birdie rebound after bogeying No. 11.

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