DAVAO – Manila Southwoods again came out with all guns blazing, pooling a second straight 136 points to widen its lead over rival Canlubang to 14 points halfway through the 70th Philippine Airlines (PAL) Interclub Golf Men’s Championship.
With Japanese teenager Yuto Katsiragawa matching par 72 worth 36 points and Ira Alido and Liam Cully shooting 34s, the Carmona-based squad pooled a 36-hole 272 total to move closer to the team's first-ever “three-peat” in the fabled event.
Non-playing skipper Thirdy Escano, however, refuses to fall into a false sense of security, considering the calibre of the team that’s giving chase.
“They will never be a pushover,” Escano said of the Sugar Barons, who drew 36 points from Gido Mandanas and 34 from Carlo Villaroman but got just 33 from Rupert Zaragosa at Rancho Palos Verdes but still managed to stay close.
“Fourteen (points) is not a comfortable lead, especially against that team,” Escano went on as he bared that he will be “tweaking” his lineup for the third round on Friday to prepare for Saturday’s last 18 holes at Apo Golf.
Either of Jama Reyes and Aidric Chan’s 32 counted as the fourth score for Southwoods, underscoring the balance in Escano’s lineup, while Cangolf threw away the 24 of Bambam Santos after Marco Olives’ 30 counted as the fourth card.
Zaragosa, the pint-sized multiple national champion, had two of his bogeys in the back nine and picked up on the par-5 12th hole, while Olives was working on a three-over card heading into his final three holes only to drop shots in each of them.
“That’s why you cannot get overconfident against a team like Canlubang, because, clearly, we just had the better breaks today out there,” Escano said.
Del Monte wrested third place from Luisita at 238 after getting 38 points from Jelbert Gamolo – the lowest score thus far – and 32 from Julius Bautista for the chunk of its second round 127.
The Luisitans, whose Senior team triumphed last Saturday, had just 117 to be six points behind the Bukidnon-based team. Senior standout Jingy Tuason scored 32 and was the high scorer for Luisita.
The 70th PAL Interclub Platinum sponsors are Mareco Broadcasting Network, A&E Networks Asia, RMN Networks, The Manila Standard, Fox Networks Group, Rolls-Royce, TV5, MasterCard, TFC and Business Mirror.
Major sponsors include Asian Air Safari, Airbus, Primax Broadcasting Network and Sabre Airline Solutions while Corporate sponsors are Baron Travel Corporation, Boeing, MX3, GE Aviation, Bombo Radyo Philippines, Asia Brewery, Tanduay Distillers, Sabre Airline Solutions and Tourism Promotions Board.
The donors are Shangri-La at The Fort, Trinity Insurance and Eton Properties.
Third round action will again be at well-manicured Palos Verdes and Escano wants nothing less than the same effort from his boys just to stay comfortably ahead going back to tree-lined Apo Golf.
“Anything can still happen with Canlubang breathing behind your neck,” he said. “Fielding in the final two days will still be of utmost importance, that’s where their (Barons’) coaching experience comes in and we have to be ready.”
A total of 83 teams are entered in the four-day, five-division event which ends on Saturday. They are playing at the Apo Golf and Country Club and Rancho Palos Verdes.
Manila Southwoods 272 (136-136), Canlubang 258 (125-133), Del Monte 238 (111-127), Luisita 232 (115-117)
Orchard 239 (123-116), Cebu 235 (113-122), Riviera 233 (116-117), Forest Hills 232 (117-115), Apo 232 (112-120), Valley 225 (107-118), Villamor 225 (120-105), Tagaytay 222 (117-105), Wack Wack 217 (120-97), Pueblo de Oro 216 (106-110), Rancho Palos Verdes 208 (105-103), Negros Occidental 207 (103-104), Social Redhawk 201 (103-98), Alabang 198 (100-98)