Triumphant return for Manotoc as he leads Canlubang to its eighth PAL Interclub seniors title

TOMMY Tommy Manotoc capped a triumphant return by leading Canlubang to its eighth Philippine Airlines (PAL) Seniors Interclub golf championship on Sunday at the Mactan Island Golf Club in Lapu Lapu City.

The 65-year-old Manotoc posted 53 points despite finishing with back-to-back bogeys as Canlubang completed a commanding 17-point win over Luisita.

“After what I have been through in terms of my health and other issues, I feel this is God’s gift to me and I’m just so grateful that I am able to enjoy the game again,” said Manotoc, his voice cracking in emotion.

Manotoc skipped the Interclub for two years after battling health issues, but did not lose a beat against a field used to his outstanding play.

He made five birdies and was one-under through 16 holes before missing the greens on the 17th and 18th for two costly bogeys.

That bogeys cost Manotoc the individual title, but waved off the missed opportunity.

“I didn’t come here for personal glory. I came here to help the team,” he said.

Eddie Bagtas of Luisita won the individual crown after edging Manotoc in the tiebreak. Both finished the event with identical 106 points, but Bagtas won with the better 18-hole score, 54 points at Mactan last Thursday.

Canlubang also drew 46 points from Mari Hechanova and 40 from Bing Bunye, finishing with 139 points for 543. Rolly Viray, nursing a fever, did not count with 37.

No one from Luisita managed to keep pace with Manotoc.

Francis Gaston, paired with Manotoc, scored 42 points, the same tally submitted by Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia. Pepot Inigo rounded out scoring with 41 as Rudy Amata failed to count with 40.

Cebu Country Club wound up third, just three points behind Luisita.

Korean Seok Kim Kwang led CCC with 49 points and got support from Japanese Matsugo Ochiai and Nonoy Tirol who had 42 points apiece.

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Orchard was a far fourth with 501 and Alta Vista settled for fifth with 471.

In the Founders division, Eagleridge edged Negros Occidental by four points despite struggling at the Club Filipino de Cebu in Danao.

Eagleridge collected only 119 points from Alfredo Pareja (42), George Samonte (39) and Crisostomo Borillo (38) to finish with 490.

Negros Occidental rallied with 130 points, but still came up short.

Antonio Gerardo de Leon fired 44 while Lito Ong and Toto Rivera added similar 43 for Negros Occidental.

Riviera Golf came in third with 485 and Pueblo de Oro settled for fourth with 471.

The scores:

Championship -- Canlubang 543, Luisita 526, Cebu 523, Orchard 501, Alta Vista 471, Manila Golf 467, Socal Redhawk 462, SFO Crystal 370, Club Filipino de Cebu 352, Victorias 336, Fil-Am Fairfield 320, PGAQ 292, Fil-Am NJ 250

Founders -- Eagle Ridge 490, Riviera Golf 485, Negros 483, Pueblo de Oro 471, Phil Navy Golf 470, Manila South Woods 465, Wack Wack 463, Camp John Hay 457, Fil-Am Hawaii 456, Coral Ocean Point Saipan 446, Valley Golf 445, Rancho Palos Verdes 444, Apo Golf 444, Mactan 444, Villamor 433, Camp Evangelista 422, Maharlika 419, Veterans 418, Davao 412, Bay City Golf Club Alameda 315, Lanang 313

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