CEBU – Tonlits Asistio, just over three years removed from surviving an attempt on his life, yesterday fired a two-under-par 70 worth 38 points and powered Southwoods to its first Philippine Airlines (PAL) Interclub Men’s Golf Championship in more than a decade.
Rediscovering his old form, the former pro and many-time national player put together a swashbuckling effort as anchor of Southwoods' closing 128 at the tree-lined Cebu Country Club and a two-point win over Orchard in one of the event’s most exciting finishes ever.
Southwoods won its first Interclub crown since 2001 with a 493 total in a fitting sendoff for Asistio, who is turning pro again in March.
Orchard fought doggedly in its quest for a repeat but fell just short as Raymund Sangil’s 34, and the 33s of Kristoffer Arevalo and JP De Claro made up the bulk of its final round 127 for 491, with Cebu CC finishing another seven points behind in third.
Wack Wack, which formed a team originally for the lower Founders Division, got 35 points from the veteran Tommy Manotoc and was fourth with a 480 after 123 while the young Del Monte squad checked in another two points behind at 478 after a 121.
“Tonlits just gave himself a good sendoff,” playing captain Thirdy Escano during the celebration behind the 18th green. “He is turning pro again in March and what a way to perform
“We never expected this (to win), but when we got the chance (after the third round), we knew that he (Asistio) would be the best man to anchor our team.”
National pool member Justin Quiban finished bogey-bogey but still salvaged a level 36 as he and Asistio both eagled the par-5 16th which erased a four-point deficit to Orchard going into the last five holes.
Ryu Ken Yasuma and Escano fired 27s and were the last scores that counted for Southwoods, which discarded the 26 of Teody Pascual, who unravelled in his final nine holes after hitting an umbrella girl with his tee shot on No. 10.
“They (his teammates) didn’t want to tell me where we stood when I entered the closing holes,” Asistio said. “But I really wanted to know so that I would know what I needed to do.”
What he did was knock an 9-iron from 160 yards out stiff to just four feet of the cup for that eagle before finishing par-par.
“This just feels great. I am very happy for the team,” Asistio said.
This Interclub will be the last for Asistio, who took eighth place in the qualifying tournament of the local tour two months ago while promising to be the best player that he can be.
“In my first stint as a pro, I didn’t practice that much because I knew that I was already a good player,” Asistio said. “But after that (shooting) incident, I have been working as hard as I could.”
Aian Arcilla fired 27 points to complete the scoring for Orchard while Montito Garcia, a senior standout like Manotoc, paced all Cebu CC scorers with 35 with Eric Deen and Marko Sarmiento shooting 31s and Gen Nagai managing just 29.
Wack Wack drew 33 points from Ernesto Marcelo and 31 from Gabriel Manotoc with John Gobing contributing 24.
Meanwhile, Socal Red Hawk ruled the Sportswriters Division by 30 points over Stanford after closing out with 99 points over at Club Filipino de Cebu in Danao for the 420 total.
Stanford fired 102 and nipped by four for second spot. Iloilo shot 100 points for 386 overall.
One Mega, People Asia, Hotel H20, Travelife, Boeing International Corp., Business Mirror and GE Aviation are sponsoring the PAL Interclub Seniors and Regular Men’s events. Other backers include Manila Bulletin, Mareco Broadcasting Network (Crossover), Whealth Inc., Aerospace, Uniglobe Travelware Co. Inc., Tanduay Distillers and Intercontinental Manila.