CEBU-born golfers Clifford Celdran and Victor Yuvallos powered Pueblo de Oro to the opening-round lead in the seniors division of the PAL Interclub golf tournament on Thursday at the Alta Vista Golf Club in Cebu.
Celdran, who retired as Cebu Country Club general manager just last year, fired a one-under par 71 for 55 points while Yuvallos, a club member, added 52.
With Ed Yap chipping in 46, Pueblo de Oro posted 153 points, six ahead of Luisita and eight up on defending champion Canlubang.
Celdran, who had three birdies against two bogeys, said they did not expect to contend, adding they just got lucky.
Overshadowed by Pueblo’s surprise strong showing was Luisita Golf Club, which drew an exceptional performance from Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia.
Garcia, the 67-year-old sports czar, matched par at the Alta Vista Golf Club to lead Luisita with 54 points. He had four birdies against the same number of bogeys.
Francis Gaston shot 47 and Seve Roxas-Chua added 46 as Luisita collected 147 points in the four-to-play, three-to-count event. Minieng Maravilla failed to count with 45.
Defending champion Canlubang had 145 points, with Rolly Viray hitting a one-birdie and five bogeys for 50 points. Mari Hechanova added 49 while Rene Unson chipped in 46 for the Sugar Barons. Bing Bunye’s 42 did not count.
A four-horse race shaped up in the Founders division with Manila Golf Club surging in front with 146 points.
Bryan Cockrel fired 52 while Fausto Preysler tallied 49 for Manila Golf Club. The 45 of either Arsenic Lacson or Severo Jose Tuason also counted.
A point behind was Los Angeles-based Red Hawk, which drew 50 from Robert Welsh, 49 from David Capistrano and 46 from Jimmy Velasco.
Host Alta Vista took third spot with 142 points, thanks to Akira Hatano’s 48, Edgardo Acain’s 47 and Agapito Suan’s 47.
Cebu Country Club, one of the pre-tournament favorites, had a modest start of 141, with 49 from Masatsugu Ochiai, 48 from Edito Tirol and 44 from Seok Kim Kwang.
CCC president Ramontito Garcia said that while they had a disappointing start, he remains upbeat about their chances in the event being sponsored by the Department of Tourism, 105.1 Crossover, Solar Sports, Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, 92.3 FM Radyo 5, Araneta Coliseum and AXN. Major sponsors are Airbus, Manila Broadcasting Corporation, Philippine Broadcasting Network, People Asia, Radio Mindanao Network, Business Mirror and ABS-CBN The Filipino Channel. Corporate sponsors include Radisson Blu Hotel, Shangri-La Resort & Spa, Boeing, Inquirer Golf Magazine, Philippines Graphic and Manila Bulletin.
“I believe that anyone who scores well at Club Filipino will have the best chance of winning,” said Garcia.