By NIMROD NL QUIÑONES
Bayani Garcia lived up to his name as he played the big hero in the final round to help Cebu Country Club claim the Founders division title of the 69th Philippine Airlines (PAL) Interclub at the Mimosa Golf Club in Angeles City, Pampanga, Saturday.
In the premiere Championship division, Manila Southwoods successfully defended its title thanks to a huge effort by Justin Quiban.
Garcia, whose first name translates to hero in English, led the Cebuanos with one-over-par 35 points on the last round en route to an eight-point rout of the opposition.
Cebu Country Club had a total of 468 points on rounds of 110, 118, 116, and 124. Also counting for the team total were Mark Dy with 33, Marko Sarmiento with 30, and either of the 26s submitted by Jon Joseph ‘JJ’ Alvarez and lawyer Jovi Neri.
The other members of the team were Ramontito Garcia, Marc Gonzalez, Ferdinand Chua, Miguel Martinez, and Julius Pierre ‘Pio’ Neri.
First runner-up for this second-ranked group was Villamor with 460 points on rounds of 119, 106, 103, and 132. Richard de los Santos led the team with 37 points and also counting were Gary Sales with 36, Jujeth Benedicto 33, and Col. Antonio ‘Jun’ Bautista, Jr. 26. The 24 of Arman Batalla did not count.
Tagaytay Highlands, which was only one point behind Cebu Country Club going to the final round, lost its bearings and finished with 456 points on rounds of 103, 120, 120, and 113.
Quiban, a member of the national pool, carded five-under-par 41 points in the Stableford or PAL Points System to power Manila Southwoods to a whopping 141 points on the last round. The team had an aggregate of 552 points after shooting 137, 138, and 136 during the first three rounds.
Aside from Quiban, also counting for the team total in the five-to-play, four-to-count format, were Yuto Katusrugawa with 37, Nestor Plana Jr. 34, and Ivan Monsalve 29. The 27 of Chepe Dulay did not count.
Canlubang, which was only one point behind entering the last day, failed to keep up on the final round and finished with a total of 552 points (138-137-135-132). Pro-bound Jobim Carlos fired 37 points for Canlubang while Carl Corpus had 33, Aidric Chan 32, and Gab Manotoc 30. The 28 of veteran Abe Rosal did not count.
“There was no doubt we had the best team in the final round,” Southwoods non-playing skipper Thirdy Escano told reporters. “I would like to congratulate the organizers for discarding the handicapping system. It’s good for Philippine golf.”
Third place went to Luisita with 531 points on rounds of 120, 135, 139, and 137.
The Interclub was 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 and Rolls-Royce.