BACOLOD – Coming up with another balanced effort on another trying day, Manila Southwoods moved inexorably ahead of the chasing pack in its “four-peat” drive in the PAL Interclub Regular Men’s Championship.
Kristoffer Arevalo fired a bogey-less two-under-par 68 for 38 points on Friday and spearheaded Southwoods to a second-round 139 at the Binitin course for an imposing 23-point lead over Luisita.
Carl Corpus fired 35 with Tom Kim and Aidric Chan accounting for 33 apiece for a 279 aggregate heading into the final two days of what is regarded as the country’s unofficial golf team championship.
Even though his second-round team did not hit its 140-point target for the day, non-playing skipper Thirdy Escano couldn’t be any happier.
“I can’t complain. It was a tough day out there,” said Escano, who refused to accept congratulations thrown his way after opening up a commanding lead. “There’s still a lot of work to do. There’s a lot of talent out there and they can easily catch up.”
Luisita, made up of a merry mix of young standouts and the core of its second-place Senior team, stayed in second spot after getting 34 big points from Eddie Bagtas, even as Canlubang remained in third despite the tournament-best 41 points of Jolo Magcalayo.
“Although having that lead is a big advantage, nothing is ever sure in this game,” Escano said.
Benjie Sumulong scored 34, Sean Jean Ramos fired 31 and either 29s of Jingy Tuason and Luis Miguel Guerrero counted for Luisita’s 128 and 256 as the squad continued to make heads turn after practically being labeled as an outsider in the Southwoods-Canlubang rivalry.
Magcalayo had a sterling seven birdies against two bogeys, but Cangolf only tallied 131 after counting the 29 of Carlo Villaroman and either 28s of Lester Lagman and Perry Bucay as its third and fourth scores.
Luis Castro scored 33 in a back-up effort to Magcalayo, and both Luisita and Canlubang would need to practically break team scoring records in the third round on Saturday to have a shot at stopping Southwoods' quest for history.
Third-round play will again be at the super-tight, windswept layout in Murcia town, with Southwoods still having a rock-solid final two teams at the disposal of Escano.
Canlubang and Aguinaldo were the only other teams ever to win three straight titles, and the way Southwoods has been built makes it seem that the Carmona-based squad is capable of pulling this one off and more in the years to come.
The final day, where Escano hinted Yuto Katsuragawa will play next, is scheduled back at Marapara.
“I’m almost sure that he will give me an under-par score there,” Escano, who was part of the champion 2015 team in Cebu that touched off this streak, said. “He just got some bad breaks in his final five holes (in the first round) and I am sure Yuto will come about.”
This year’s Interclub’s Platinum sponsors this year are RMN and Manila Times, while major sponsors are Mastercard, The Philippine Manila Standard, Rolls Royce, Bombardier, TV5, Primax, BusinessWorld, Crossover and Fox.
Other sponsors include Boeing, PAGCOR, Belmonte Hotel, Eton Properties and Asia Brewery, Inc.
Championship: Manila Southwoods 279, Luisita 256, Canlubang 250, Del Monte 232
Aviator: Negros Occidental 220, Sherwood Hills 209, Sta Elena 209, Alta Vista 188, Rancho Palos Verdes 185, Lumbia 181, Eagle Ridge 177, Davao City 175, Sarangani-Gensan 173, Stanford 171, Apo 161, Camp John Hay 150, Greenhills West 122, Moffet Field 88, Yokohama Eagles 68
Founders: Wack Wack 232, Forest Hills 223, Cebu 223, The Orchard 214, Villamor Air Base 213, Tagaytay Highlands 212, Valley Golf CC 212, Riviera Golf 210, Southern California Redhawks 195, Alabang 189, Pueblo de Oro 185, Summit Point 166, Manila Golf 165, Camp Agiinaldo 152, Pinoy Vancouver 100
Friendship: Bay Area 183, San Juanico 147, South Cotabato 144, Van City 141, Pittsburg Filam 141, Lanang 133, Mt Malindang 128, Baguio 127, Iligan 125, New Zealand Black Tees 122, Figme Dubai 122, Filipino Golfers Assoc Kuwait 119, Mabuhay Golf SFO 116, Silicon Valley Golf SVG 115, SF Crystal Springs 114, Greater Vancouver 104, Sky West 96, Fil Oz Sydney 91, Figme UAE 87, Cotabato 75, Filiipino Golfers Assoc Kuwait 40
Sportswriters: Mactan Island 193, Guinhalaran 184, Club Filipino de Cebu 178, Iloilo 168, Zamboanga 162, Melbourne Pinoy 162, Fil-Am Fairfield 161, Bacolod 160, Tagaytay Midlands 157, Fil-Am Hawaii 153, UP Tee Jots 144, Cattle Creek 143, Seattle Golf Club 125, Camp Evangelista 122, MSU Marawi 119, Pearl Kai Hawaii 111, PGA British Columbia 110, Green Tee 110, SF Maharlika 103, Parbreakers Golf Assoc BC 88