ORCHARD bucked a bum front nine by its second day lineup at Marapara on Thursday to score 109 points and extend its lead over Del Monte to six halfway through the 67th PAL Interclub Men’s championship.
The seasoned King Stehmeier stood at the forefront of the Dasmarinas, Cavite-based squad, firing a four-over-par 74 worth 32 points as his teammates also recovered for a two-day aggregate of 238 in the event considered as the unofficial team championship in the country.
Orchard, seeing action for the first time in the Championship Division after dominating the Founders bracket for several years, had nine pick-ups in the front nine with Stehmeier having his on the par-4 No. 5 before everything fell into place once again.
JP De Claro fired 29 points, TJ Benitez had 25 and either 23s of Ace Stehmeier and reigning club champion Ian Salvador counted for Orchard, which kept its third five close to its chest.
Del Monte got 30 points from Mel Cubillo, 28 from Noel Langamin and 27 from Magno Arancon Jr., but the 2011 champions were pulled down by the 21 of Jovy Lusterio for their 106 and 232.
BJ Minoza was ill and replaced by at the 11th hour by Senior player Amido Callo, who failed to count with 20 for Del Monte.
Alabang showed marked improvement compared to its opening round output, as Justin Quiban fired a 69 for 37 points and Andres Saldana contributed 34 that put last year’s second placers in third at 227 and well within striking distance.
Cebu Country Club, seeking its first-ever ‘three-peat,’ gained just a point on Orchard and fell to fourth spot as playing captain Ramontito Garcia and burly Bayani Garcia shooting 29s to pace their second round 110 and 225 overall.
The Cebuanos got 26 points each from Eric Deen and Marko Sarmiento with the 22 of Andre Borromeo discarded.
“We will reserve two reliable scorers for the last two days,” Orchard captain Francis Montallana said. “All of our players have played already so we will basically try to match (the opponents’) lineups.”
There was a slight discrepancy in the tallying of scores in the first day with the Del Monte total actually being 126 points instead of 125.
“We will tinker with our lineup in the final two days,” non-playing Del Monte skipper Kristin Leonen told scribes here. “We originally had pencilled a lineup for the whole four days, but being down like we are, we will do some adjustments.”
Valley Golf also remained in the lead in the Founders Division after shooting 96 points at Marapara as Adrian Mauricio scored 29 and Raymund Puyat 24. Valley now has a 10-point lead over Apo Golf with its 210 aggregate 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, Petron and Manila Bulletin.
Apo got 27 points from Juan Alba and 25 from Enrico Gabino.
The Sportswriters Division has a new leader in Club Filipino, which amassed 98 points at Binitin for 197, four up on Lumbia. Hospicio Razon and Baltaire Balangguan each scored 26 for Club Filipino with Lumbia shooting just 84 points
Lumbia was led by the 23 points of David Infante.
The bulk of Bacolod Golf’s 97 points came from Richard Holt, who shot 27 and Joaquin Tan, who assembled 25 even as South Cotabato pulled away from Cotabato Golf in the Friendship Division with a 91 built around the 28 of Sonny Lao.
South Cotabato now has 171, leading Cotabato Golf by by 18 from two at the start of the day.