TEAM North took the first two matches and ended the day with a one-point lead over the South in fourball on Wednesday in the Philippine Golf Tour’s The Duel at the Camp John Hay Golf Club in Baguio City.
Miguel Tabuena and Randy Garalde bucked windy, chilly condition to turn back Tony Lascuña and Orlan Sumcad 2 and 1 and the North went on to post a 3 ½ to 2 ½ lead.
Tour rookie Ira Alido played well with veteran Mars Pucay and they clobbered the Bayron brothers Jay and Rufino 5 and 4 as the Northerners took early control in better-ball format of the country’s version of the Ryder Cup.
Keanu Jahns and Justin Quiban rallied from three down and took three of the last six holes to end up all-square with Clyde Mondilla and Rene Menor.
Zanieboy Gialon and Cassius Casas birdied the 18th to complete a 2-up win over Michael Bibat and Benjie Magada and give South its first full point before North’s Joenard Rates and James Ryan Lam dominated Jhonnel Ababa and Jerson Balasabas from start to finish for a 4 and 2 win.
Mhark Fernando and Elmer Salvador won four straight holes from No. 4 and battled from one-down to score a 4 and 3 rout of Gerald Rosales and Jobim Carlos as South closed in.
Team North coach Temyong Murakami keeps the Pucay-Alido pair as it clashes with Ababa and Gialon in the alternate shot format with Tabuena teaming up with Rates against Rufino Bayron and Sumcad.
South skipper Charles Hong, on the other hand, hopes to get a full point from the powerhouse tandem of Lascuña and Mondilla as they collide with Rosales and Quiban, while Jay Bayron also tries to rebound with Salvador as partner against Magada and Lam.
Casas and Balasabas, meanwhile, face off with Bibat and Carlos in the last match of the day.
The aces from Visayas and Mindanao are eyeing a third straight championship but the top guns from Luzon are out to foil their bid and score a follow-up to their lone victory in 2013.