North steals foursomes, leads South by 5
Team North rallied strong and swept the last three matches, turning a 1-2 deficit into a resounding 4-2 victory as it pulled away from Team South, 8 1/2-3 1/2, after Wednesday’s foursomes in The Duel – North vs South 4 at Wack Wack’s East Course.
Miguel Tabuena bounced back from a loss in fourball with Benjie Magada Tuesday as he teamed up with Joenard Rates to score a big 6&4 rout of the Jhonnel Ababa-Charles Hong tandem then Miguel Ochoa and James Ryan Lam humbled the fancied pair of Cassius Casas and Clyde Mondilla, 2&1, and Magada and new partner Randy Garalde also upended Elmer Salvador and Arnold Villacencio, 2&1, to highlight the Northerners’ fiery comeback that put the team way ahead heading to Thursday’s deciding singles of the event sponsored by ICTSI.
Counting Angelo Que and Mars Pucay’s 3&1 romp over Ferdie Aunzo and Marvin Dumandan in the first group, Team North pooled four wins to stretch its overnight three-point lead to five and move four wins away in the singles to avenge their 8-20 blowout loss last year in Cebu.
After a two-hour rain delay, Team South actually moved within two points as brothers Jay and Rufino Bayron routed Jun Bernis and Michael Bibat. 5&4, and Tony Lascuña and Orlan Sumcad held off Gerald Rosales and Keanu Jahns, 3&2, to negate Que and Pucay’s win in the alternate shot format.
But the diminutive pair of Tabuena and Rates stood tall against Hong and Ababa in the fourth group, sustaining a strong start to post the day’s most lopsided win. Lam and Ochoa then withstood Casas and Mondilla’s backside rally with clutch pars, and Magada and Garalde also fended off Salvador and Villacencio to cap North’s superb two-day solid display of teamwork in the event backed by Nike Golf, Srixon, Callaway, Empire Golf, Footjoy, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp.
Now, it’s time for the Northerners to showcase their individual talents.
“We’ll never stop. We’ll play as if we’re the ones trailing,” said North skipper Artemio Murakami.
With a big lead, North only needs to win four of the 12 singles to clinch The Duel and keep a trend in the first four years of the event, the local version of the Ryder Cup. South won the inaugurals in 2012 but North ruled the next edition before the Southerners routed their counterparts via a 20-8 romp in Cebu last year.
With a five-point lead, North is itching to better than winning margin.
Ochoa, who swept his fourball and foursomes assignments, sets out in the first match against the power-hitting Dumandan then Magada squares off with Sumcad, another long-hitter, and Rosales takes on Casas and Jahns tests Mondilla’s mettle.
Que steps into the fifth match and is heavily fancied against Villacencio in a bid to keep a winning run, so does Lam, who collides with Aunzo next, before Pucay battles Lascuña, Bernis faces Rufino Bayron, Bibat tangles with Ababa, Rates mixes it up with Jay Bayron, Tabuena clashes with Hong, and Garalde colliding with Salvador.
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