CLARK Field, Pampanga – Manila Southwoods got another solid performance from its second unit on Friday and seized a one-point lead over Canluabang going into the final round of the 69th PAL Interclub Men’s championship.
Jets Sajulga, a recruit from Bukidnon, fired a one-under-par 71 worth 37 points and young Ira Alido matched par for 36 to boost the defending champions to a third day 136 for 411 to break free from a tie with the Sugar Barons at the start of the day at Mimosa’s Acacia and Lake View nines.
Ryan Monsalve fired 32 and the veteran Vince Lauron settled for a 31 after dropping five strokes in his last four holes as the Carmona-based squad threw away the 29 of Brixton Aw to stay firmly in place for a first-ever repeat in what is regarded as the country’s unofficial golf team championship.
Cangolf, like Southwoods, fielded the same five it had in the second round and the Sugar Barons totaled 135 with many-time national champion Rupert Zaragosa contributing 38, Luigi Castro and Carlo Villaroman shooting 33s and Marco Olives chipping in with 31.
“Canlubang will always be a tough team to contend with,” said Thirdy Escano, now the non-playing captain who was part of two previous Southwoods squads that were denied a repeat in the past.
“My team tomorrow is a stronger team, so we are relatively confident going into tomorrow (in the final round),” he said. “But of course, a lot of it will have to do with the experience of Canlubang. That’s the advantage they have.”
Canlubang is also chasing a special achievement with a win, as it will mark a triumphant return to the event while also completing a sweet double after ruling the Senior Division action last Sunday against bitter rival Luisita.
Luisita kept its wafer-thin chances of pulling an upset after creeping to within 17 of the pace, tallying a day-best 139 after getting a tournament-best 40 points from jungolfer Dan Cruz and 34s from Luis Guerrero and Tom Kim and either 31s of Jingy Tuason and Basti Lorenzo for 394 overall.
“I am just happy that we were able to catch up,” Canlubang owner Luigi Yulo told reporters, referring to a huge deficit that they were able to chop down in the final holes because of Lauron’s misfortunes. “It will be a very interesting final round.”
Southwoods will field its rock-solid opening round team led by national pool member Justin Quiban and long-hitting Japanese Yuto Katsuragawa, while the Sugar Barons will have a five led by pro-bound Jobim Carlos with support to come from four junior standouts and the veteran Abe Rosal.
Liam Cully and Jay Matthew Reyes fired 34s to lead Orchard’s third round 132 and the 2014 champions are now 13 points out of the third-placed Luisitans.
The Interclub is sponsored by People Asia, Travelife, Mareco Broadcasting Network (Crossover), Manila Broadcasting Corporation, Airbus, Business Mirror and Philippine National Bank.
Other supporters are Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inquirer.net, Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, Tanduay Distillers, Asia Brewery, Splash Corporation, RFM Corporation, Goldilocks, Eastgate Publishing Corporation, Robinsons Land, TMC, Mastercard, Hytera and Rolls-Royce.