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Adam Le Vesconte wins Philippine Open

Australian Adam Le Vesconte broke through for his maiden Asian Tour title when he claimed a four-stroke victory in the US$200,000 Philippine Open on Sunday.

Vesconte, who started the final round two strokes off the pace, fired a closing seven-under-par 64 for a winning total of 12-under-par 272 at Mt Malayarat Golf and Country Club. He won US$31,500.

Local hope Gerald Rosales, who had his sister and LPGA Tour star Jennifer rooting for him, finished a distant second after a 67 while overnight leader Jason Dawes of Australia was disappointed to finish in third place following a 72.

Americans Ron Won and Bryan Saltus shared fourth position on 282 while Thai veteran Boonchu Ruangkit, who was second overnight, slipped out of the title chase with a 76 to share sixth place with Malaysia's Danny Chia, Filipino amateur Juvic Pagunsan, Canadian Darren Griff and first round leader Andrew Buckle of Australia.

"I'm absolutely delighted," said the 31-year-old Vesconte, who entered the week ranked a lowly 119th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

"Last night, I had a feeling that I could win this championship and doing it today will give me the opportunity to play in the bigger events. The Asian Tour is growing so fast and I can now pick the events that I want to play in," added the Queensland-based Vesconte.

After an opening bogey, Vesconte turned on the style, making birdies on the fifth, seventh and eighth holes to turn in two-under. Vesconte's victory parade started on the homeward stretch when he shot five birdies to ease his way to victory.

Rosales, who lost his Asian Tour card last season, will benefit greatly from his runner-up's cheque of US$21,600. Despite having his sister Jennifer amongst the family members cheering him on, the talented Rosales failed to give Vesconte a closer run for his money.

"I played well for my 67 but Adam played better. I'm happy to do well in my home Open. I struggled on Tour last year but I've been working a bit harder at my game and it's coming together now," said Rosales, the winner here in 2000.

Overnight pacesetter Dawes, who shot a course record 62 on Saturday, never got his game going, a bogey on his first hole setting the tone for the rest of his round. Thai veteran Boonchu also struggled, particularly at the par threes where he ran up two double bogeys at the fourth and 17th holes.

The Asian Tour will head to Seoul , Korea next week for the staging of the Maekyung Open.

Leading final round scores

272 - Adam Le Vesconte (AUS) 71-70-67-64

276 - Gerald Rosales (PHI) 69-73-67-67

278 - Jason Dawes (AUS) 72-72-62-72

282 - Ron Won ( USA ) 69-71-72-70, Bryan Saltus ( USA ) 68-74-68-72

283 - Danny Chia (MAS) 72-71-72-68, Andrew Buckle (AUS) 66-73-73-71, Juvic Pagunsan [A] (PHI) 68-72-69-74, Darren Griff (CAN) 69-72-68-74, Boonchu Ruangkit (THA) 70-68-69-76

284 - Gary Rusnak (USA) 76-71-70-67, Gilberto Morales (VEN) 71-70-72-71, Keith Horne (RSA) 72-73-68-71, Rey Pagunsan (PHI) 70-72-69-73, R. Nachimuthu (MAS) 72-73-67-72, Tony Lascuna (PHI) 72-71-68-73, Shaaban Hussein (MAS) 73-70-67-74

285 - Sung Mao-chang (TPE) 69-78-70-68, Felix Casas (PHI) 70-70-75-70, Arjun Singh (IND) 72-70-72-71, Lee Seong-ki (KOR) 71-75-67-72, Somkiat Srisanga (THA) 67-75-67-76

286 - Atthaphon Prathummanee (THA) 71-74-72-69, Rick Gibson (CAN) 71-70-75-70, Hisaki Takeuchi (JPN) 71-73-72-70, Chris Gill (ENG) 72-69-74-71, Jay Bayron [A] (PHI) 76-68-71-71, Robin Hodgetts (AUS) 75-70-69-72, Airil Rizman Zahari (MAS) 70-72-72-72, Richard Backwell (AUS) 71-75-68-72, Jochen Lupprian (GER) 71-70-72-73


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