South stars overcome five-point deficit to beat North squad and retain title in PGT’s The Duel
The South stars Elmer Salvador (front row, from left), Rufino Bayron, Marvin Dumandan, assistant team captain Zanieboy Gialon, Jhonnel Ababa, Ferdie Aunzo and Tony Lascuña, (back row) Arnold Villacencio, Jay Bayron, Clyde Mondilla, Orlan Sumcad, skipper Jerome Delariarte, Cassius Casas and Charles Hong pose with the trophy after downing the North squad.

OUTPLAYED in team play, South banked on individual talent and skills to overcome a five-point deficit, dominating the singles matches 9-3 for a hairline victory to retain the title in The Duel – North vs South on Thursday at Wack Wack’s East Course.

Bowing in the fourball and foursomes, the Southerners proved they are a lot better in individual play with the power-hitting Orlan Sumcad and veteran Elmer Salvador sparking the team to a 12-1/2 to 11-1/2 win.

“We just refused to lose. They jumped the gun on us in the first two days but my guys just knew how to win,” said South skipper Jerome Delariarte.

The win also made Team South the first back-to-back winner of local version’s Ryder Cup put up by ICTSI in 2012 to further foster camaraderie among the country’s leading players from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Sumcad dominated Benjie Magada in the second pairing and came away with a 7 and 6 rout, the same output dished out by Salvador against Randy Garalde in the last match of the 12-pair finale.

Inspired by their teammates’ early victory, Marvin Dumandan won 2-up over Miguel Ochoa, while Cassius Casas and Clyde Mondilla scored 3 and 1 wins over Gerald Rosales and Keanu Jahns, respectively.

Rufino Bayron routed Jun Bernis, 4 and 2, Tony Lascuña nipped Mars Pucay, 2 and 1, and Jay Bayron downed Joenard Rates, 3 and 1.

Those eight wins, coupled with the all-square results by Ferdie Aunzo against James Ryan Lam and Charles Hong against Miguel Tabuena, gave South a whopping nine-point result and a one-point overall victory over a dejected North side.

Needing just four wins out of 12 matches to  re-claim the crown they won in 2013, the Northerners fell short and posted just three points with only Angelo Que and Michael Bibat delivering the wins, a 2 and 1 decision over Arnold Villacencio and a 1-up escape over Jhonnel Ababa, respectively, in the event backed by Nike Golf, Srixon, Callaway, Empire Golf, Footjoy, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp.

“The clincher was the half point of Aunzo and Jay Bayron’s crucial win. But everybody played well,” said Delariarte.


Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph