DAVAO’s Jhonnel Ababa and Cebu ace Charles Hong routed Carl Santos-Ocampo and Edward Reyes, 5 and 3, as Team South took a 5-3 lead against the North on Wednesday in The Duel 3 at the Cebu Country Club.
The Southerners actually missed gaining a bigger cushion as Tony Lascuna and Clyde Mondilla yielded the final hole, enabling Miguel Tabuena and Jun Rates to salvage a draw in the back-and-forth second-to-last pairing of the afternoon foursomes.
Jay Bayron and Elmer Saban set the tone for Team South’s afternoon charge with a 6 and 4 romp over Michael Bibat and Jun Bernis.
Angelo Que and Mars Pucay saved the day for Team North with a 3 and 2 win over Marvin Dumandan and Mhark Fernando.
It was a sorry finish for Lascuna and Que, who had appeared headed for a sweep of their two matches after going 1-up after 17 holes. But Tabuena and Rates refused to give up and took 18th to force the draw.
“It’s a good cushion but not a safe lead,” said South skipper Jerome Delariarte.
In the morning four-ball, Lascuna and Mondilla fought back from one hole down with two birdies in the last three holes to win 1-up over Que and Gerald Rosales on opening day of the three-day event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Frankie Minoza sank a six-foot uphill birdie putt on the 18th as he and local ace Hong finished all-square with Carl Santos-Ocampo and James Ryan Lam.
Cassius Casas and Jhonnel Ababa won the match against Randy Garalde and Benjie Magada, 2 and 1, in the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Tabuena and Rates dominated Elmer Salvador and Jessie Balasabas and rolled to a 4 and 3 romp for Team North.
"We're evenly matched but I believe we have a more experienced team," said the 35-year-old Delariarte, a native of Dumangas, Iloilo.
The two teams slug it out again on Thursday, with skippers of both squads expected to tinker with respective team-ups to spring a surprise or two – first in the morning alternate shot format and then the afternoon best-ball in the event also backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Srixon, Callaway, Sharp, FootJoy, Mizuno, Callaway and Custom Clubmakers with Balls, ABS-CBN Sports+Action and Inquirer Golf as media partners.
The 12 singles matches will be played on Friday.