DAMASUS Wong played the second nine in regulation to lead Canlubang to a slim four-point lead over Luisita at the start of the 32nd Philippine Airlines Seniors Interclub golf team championships on Thursday in Bacolod City.
Three-over at the turn, the 55-year-old businessman made one birdie against a lone bogey and parred the closing holes to finish with the day’s best 51 points at the demanding Marapara course.
With brothers Abe and Pem Rosal adding 50 and 49 points, respectively, Canlubang submitted a total of 150 points. Zaldy Villa’s 48 did not count.
Canlubang non-playing captain Tony Olives said the team focused on preventing a repeat of last year’s opening 124, the club’s worst ever score, at Apo.
“We made sure it won’t happen again.”
Wong atoned for his mediocre debut at Apo last year by doing a good job around the greens.
“I didn’t hit too many fairways, but managed to save a lot of pars,” said Wong after going eight points better than his opening-round score last year.
Abe Rosal, last year’s individual champion, was his usual reliable self.
“He (Abe) always beats me like a drum,” said Pem, a physician based in Delaware State. “Abe called me last year and asked me if I can play for Canlubang. Of course, I replied.”
Away from the country for nearly 30 years, Pem said he was shocked the first time he played Marapara.
“The wind was nothing like in the States. The course is also too tight and narrow. In fact, I didn’t break 90 during practice,” he said.
Pem paid tribute to Canlubang pro Jun Bernis who carried his bag. “He was a big help,” he said.
Luisita opened with 146 points – a good score as far as non-playing skipper Jeric Hechanova is concerned.
“We’re happy with the score. My hat off to Canlubang for that very good score,” said Hechanova.
Edmund Yee shot 50 points and Rodel Mangulabnan added 49. The 47 of either Jingy Tuason or Chino Raymundo counted.
Both squads are expected to field in fresh legs on Saturday at Binitin.
“We expected Canlubang to field both Rosals because of what happened last year,” said Hechanova. “I feel we’re going to get stronger as the tournament wears on.”
Lost in what is shaping up as another Canlubang-Luisita showdown was Del Monte Golf Club which sits 18 points off the pace with 132.
Scoring for Del Monte were Ondoy Mondilla with 48, Arnido Callo with 43 and Virgilio Adag with 41.
At Binitin, Cebu Country Club seized a two-point lead over Alabang in the Founders division after scoring 140 points on George Hong’s 48, Nonoy Tirol’s 47 and Koichi Horii’s 45.
Alabang drew 49 from Korean Jun Bai Lee, 44 from Luis Sajorda and 43 from Korean Young Sook Kim.
Defending champion Orchard shot 136 while Camp John Hay and Manila Golf collected 135 and 134, respectively in the event that has Primax Broadcasting, RMN and Fox as platinum sponsors, and BusinessWorld Publishing, Rolls Royce, TV5, Philippine Standard as major sponsors. The event is also backed by Boeing, Under Armour, Eton Properties and Asia Brewery.