THE North and South squads split their matches in the morning fourballs and kept it tied in the afternoon foursomes in the opener of The Duel on Wednesday at the Alabang Country Club.
After a tight morning showdown, the Southerners won the first two afternoon matches to take control but the North squad made a late charge to make sure the day ended with the score still even 4-4.
Randy Garalde and James Ryan Lam took three of last four holes and won 2-up over Zanie Boy Gialon Gialon and Elmer Saban.
Carl Santos-Ocampo and Edward Reyes won No. 15 for a 1-up victory over Ferdie Aunzo and Jay Bayron in the alternate shot format.
The showdown continues Thursday with best-ball in the morning and alternate shot in the afternoon.
Tony Lascuña and Clyde Mondilla stood at the forefront of South’s opening day charge, scoring 1.5 points in the day, including an imposing 3&2 romp over Michael Bibat and Jun Bernis in the foursomes.
Jhonnel Ababa and last year’s winning team captain Charles Hong also humbled the fancied North pair of Angelo Que and Miguel Tabuena, 4&3, to give the defending champions a 2-0 lead.
“We got two matches and it’s okay. We’ll try our best again tomorrow,” said South skipper Jerome Delariarte.
In the morning fourball, Pagunsan and Rufino Bayron clobbered Tabuena and Reyes, 4&3, but Bibat and Gerald Rosales nipped Marvin Dumandan and Zanie Boy Gialon, 1-up, in the event sponsored by ICTSI, organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., and backed by KIA, Ping, Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers, Mizuno, Pacsports, Callaway, Cleveland, FootJoy, Srixon, Titleist, Empire Golf and Sports Shop and Sharp.
The Que-Pucay and Lascuña-Mondilla match ended all-square, as did the match pitting Santos-Ocampo and Lam against Jay Bayron and Aunzo.
“Like what I’ve said, both teams are evenly matched. Games are going to be this close,” said Que, bidding to help the North avenge their loss in last year’s inaugurals of the event that pits the leading players from Luzon against those from Visayas and Mindanao.