JOHN Kier Abdon anchored a swashbuckling finish on Saturday, shooting a two-over-par 72 worth 34 points to lead Orchard to its first Men’s Championship division title in the PAL Interclub at tree-lined Marapara in Bacolod.
The 22-year-old came up with the perfect going away present as he turns pro next month, playing steadiest on another trying day at the wind-swept course as Orchard – seeing action for the first time in the centerpiece division – completed a Cinderella finish.
Orchard had 126 points for the day and 477 overall, a whopping 18 clear of Alabang as no one in the field came close to the way it performed in the final day.
Alabang couldn’t keep up with Orchard in the final round, shooting 118 for 459 with Del Monte finishing third six points behind and Cebu Country Club faltering even more for fourth spot 40 points off the pace.
The veteran King Stehmeier, the second round hero, ably backed up Abdon with 33 and younger brother Ace chipped in with 30. Orchard was so impressive that either 29s of JP De Claro and Ian Salvador counted as the fourth score.
“There were doubts on whether or not we can play with the big boys,” non-playing skipper Francis Montillano told a handful of scribes later. “But we came here ready to play.”
Justin Quiban fired 33 and Jama Reyes contributed 32 to lead Alabang, which counted the 28 and 25 of Basti Lorenzo and Gabriel Manotoc, respectively and threw away the 23 of Ramon Garcia.
Leonard Lofranco, another talent ripe for the pros, shot 33 and Mel Cubillo fired 29 points for Del Monte, the 2011 champ which got 28 each from Joven Lusterio and Noel Langamin.
Abdon, who plays in the local tour starting with the Splendido leg in a couple of weeks, also won a team championship for the first time in an Interclub career that started with Southwoods in his mid-teens.
“This is certainly sweet… to win the double (team and individual crowns),” Abdon said after his 3-over total counting his 71 at Binitin won the individual championship, said. “This is my first and last year with Orchard, but it certainly will be memorable.”
Orchard opened up with 129 points at Binitin on Wednesday and never lost ground the rest of the way, as the fielding of Montillano played a key role.
There were some who questioned the logic in playing Abdon and Raymund Sangil together on Day 1, and Montillano was quick to point out to the reason that other squads can learn from in the future.
“We wanted to start hot, build a lead and then work from there,” said Montillano, who got a 33 and 32 from Sangil both at Binitin.
Cebu CC sorely missed the services of Mark Dy and Lloyd Jefferson Go and floundered in its date with club history.
Marko Sarmiento shot 31 and Ramontito Garcia scored 29 as Cebu CC closed out with 114 after counting the 27s of Jovi Neri and Bayani Garcia. Andre Borromeo failed to count with 24.
Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club won the Founders division also in runaway fashion after posting 452 points.
Negros turned to old lion Francis Gaston who led scoring with 34 points. Other scorers were Chepe Dulay 31, Justin Limjap 31 and Max Javelona 30.
Manila Southwoods finished 19 points behind Negros in second place. Scoring for the Carmona-based team were Antonio Asistio 36, Vince Lauron 35, Theodore Pascual 26 and Jose Roy III 26.
Third place went to Wack Wack, which finished with 404 in the event co-sponsored by CrossOver with Boeing, Philippines Graphic, Stargate Media (People Asia) and Rogue as corporate backers, and supported by Airbus, Business Mirror, One Mega Group (Travel Now), Philippine Broadcasting Corporation, Manila Broadcasting Corporation and Manila Bulletin.
The final results:
Championship - Orchard 477, Alabang Country Club 459, Del Monte 453, Cebu Country Club
437, Greenhills West 231, MSU Golf & CC 226, Camp John Hay 217, Fil Oz
Sydney 215, Anvaya Cove 213, Moffet Field 209, Figme UAE 162, Filipino
Golfers Kuwait 145.
Sportswriter – Eagle Ridge 384, Lumbia 377, Club Filipino 376, Bacolod 360, Davao City
358, Iloilo 356, So Cal Redhawk 355, Saranggani 348, Sherwood
Hills-Suntrust 339, Bay Area 330, Philippine Navy 327, Guinhalaran 326,
Pittsburg Fil Am 259, Fil Am Fairchild 240, PGA of BC 230, Baguio Country
Club 222, Leyte Golf 220, Greater Vancouver 177, Van City 166, South Bay
Founders - Negros Occidental 452, Manila Southwoods 433, Wack Wack 404, Valley Golf
402, Riviera Golf 397, Alta Vista 395, Apo Golf 394, Rancho Palos Verdes
392,Forest Hills 392, Zamboanga 383, Sta Elena 381, Tagaytay Highland 377,
Villamor 374, Iligan 366, Mactan Island 361, Manila Golf 357, Pueblo De
Oro 346, Maharlika 273, Lanang 287, Yokohama Eagles 116.
Friendship - Fil Am Hawaii 319, Victorias Golf 313, South Cotabato 312, Cotabato Golf
302, Pearl Kai Hawaii 300, Austral-Asian Golf 287, Mabuhay Golf of SF 262,
Up Tee Jots 260, FGA Riyadh 256, Seattle 253, SF Crystal Springs 236,
Figme Dubai 236.