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Zaragosa, Sarines share JPGT lead

LAUREL, Batangas – Precious Zaragosa and Mona Sarines surged to the top of the leaderboard in the girls’ 11-14 category in the Junior Philippine Golf Tour, both carding two-over 74s to seize a five-stroke lead in the 54-hole tournament at the Splendido Taal Golf Club here Tuesday.

Zaragosa’s standout performance included a hole-in-one on No. 3; while Sarines finished strong with two birdies in the last three holes at the front in scorching conditions as the pair wrested a commanding lead over Lisa Sarines in one of the three age categories in the Luzon Series I of the of the 14-leg circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc.

“I was really surprised,” said Zaragosa, who used a Mizuno pitching wedge and Titleist No. 2 ball to ace the 100-yard hole. “But I became nervous after that and made a double bogey and bogey in the next two holes.”

Looking ahead, she added: “I hope to putt better tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Like most of the 60 participants, Zaragosa intends to compete in all 14 legs of the JPGT, which will culminate in the Match Play Championship in October.

For her part, Mona Sarines acknowledged the need to improve on her approach shots.

“There’s still 36 holes left so I’ll just do my best and improve on those aspects,” she said.

Levonne Talion and Aerin Chua carded 83 and 87, respectively, while Althea Bañez and Kendra Garingalao struggled with 91 and 93, respectively.

In the boys’ 11-14 division, Race Manhit, 11, demonstrated his potential with an 81, despite not recording any birdies. This effort secured him a two-shot lead over Juan Antonio Cruz and Aenzo Sulaik, both of whom finished with 83, while Javie Bautista and Iñigo Gallardo stayed within striking distance with 85 and 86, respectively.

“The greens are fast and I couldn’t get my putting right,” said Manhit, who emphasized that playing in the JPGT helps him develop a competitive spirit.

The JPGT, sponsored by ICTSI, aims to nurture young talent and promote camaraderie among participants. It includes the 8-10 age division (36 holes) and the 15-18 category (72 holes), for both boys and girls.

The event is also designed to operate independently from other junior golf organizations, ensuring no