BACOLOD – Orchard, getting 33 points from Nico Santiano and 32 from Raymund Sangil, pooled 113 at Binitin in Murcia on Friday to take a 10-point lead over new pursuer Alabang going into the final round of the 67th Philippine Airlines Interclub Men’s championship.
The Dasmarinas, Cavite-based squad is now within 18 holes of a first-ever championship which it will try to wrap up on Saturday at the much-tougher Marapara layout where Alabang carved out the best round of the tournament last Thursday.
Santiano, a rookie, turned in a three-over-par 73 in stroke play and was the team’s third-round spearhead with Sangil, a former pro, churning out another steady round and Rodel Mangulabnan shooting 32.
Orchard actually had to count the 19 of Antonio Payumo and still remained in the lead. The squad tossed out the 17 of TJ Benitez.
Coming out for Orchard in the final round will be Jik-Jik Abdon, JP De Claro, Ace Stehmeier, Ian Salvador and King Stehmeier.
“It’s tough to tell, we know that 10 points is a big lead for one day, but we also know that it’s not impossible to lose it,” non-playing skipper Francis Montanilla said. “And Alabang has been gaining on us for the last two rounds.”
Basti Lorenzo fired 31, Christopher Popp returned 30 and Jama Reyes and Gabriel Manotoc fired 28 and 25 points, respectively, for Alabang’s 114. JB Garcia failed to count with 21 points.
Alabang fashioned out 118 points and gained 11 on Orchard in the second round built around the tournament-best one-under-par 69 of national team member Justin Quiban, who comes out again on Saturday together with Manotoc, Reyes, Ramon Garcia and Lorenzo.
Del Monte and Cebu Country Club faded out of the fight with lethargic efforts of 103 and 98 points, respectively.
The champion in 2011, Del Monte got 30 points from Leonard Lofranco, 26 from Jansen Morilla and 24 and 23 from Jelbert Gamolo and Julius Bautista, respectively, as it now trails Orchard by 16 points with Cebu CC another 12 points back.
The Cebuanos effectively kissed their ‘three-peat’ bids goodbye as Eric Deen’s 30 was good enough to lead the squad in the third round. So off-form was Cebu CC that it counted the 20 of Harvey Sytiongsa, with Gen Nagai shooting 25 and Carl Almario good for just 23.
Negros Occidental Golf pulled away by 12 from Valley Golf in the Founders Division by shooting 106 points built around the 27s of Tonchy De Leon, Jimmy Jusay and Kokoy Locsin.
NOGCC’s final score was the 25 of Ray Lim also at Binitin, where Chino Laureta fired 31 to lead Valley’s 104.
Lumbia put the Sportswriters title in the bag with a 25-point lead over SO Cal Redhawk after shooting 98 points at Marapara even as Fil-Am Hawaii took a shaky six-point lead over Cotabato Golf in the Friendship Division after firing a third round 76 for 234.
This year's Interclub is being co-sponsored by CrossOver with Boeing, Philippines Graphic, Stargate Media (People Asia) and Rogue as corporate backers. Also lending support are Airbus, Business Mirror, One Mega Group (Travel Now), Philippine Broadcasting Corporation, Manila Broadcasting Corporation, Petron and Manila Bulletin.