By NIMROD NL QUINONES
Cebu Country Club kept its head above the water in the Founders division of the 69th Philippine Airlines (PAL) Interclub after three rounds of action at the Mimosa Golf Club in Angeles City, Pampanga.
An exciting finish to this annual national club championship tournament looms in four of the five categories contested with the top teams either tied or just separated by one or two ticks from each other.
This tournament requires a team to field five players for each round, but only the four best scores in the Stableford or PAL Points System would count for the team total.
Southwoods holds a one-point lead in the premiere Championship division while Manila Golf and Valley Golf are tied for the lead in the Aviator group. In the Sportswriters division, Philippine Navy has pulled away from the rest of the field, but in the fifth-ranked Friendship division, Mabuhay Golf Club of San Francisco is only one ahead of its closest pursuer.
Manila Southwoods seized the lead in this group over upstart Canlubang and a fight to the finish is expected in Saturday’s final round as these two teams will try to out play each other.
Southwoods, winner of the title in Cebu last year, has a three-day total of 411 points on rounds of 137, 138, and 136. In the penultimate round, Bukidnon’s Jets Sajulga led Southwoods with one-under-par 37 points and was ably backed by teenager Ira Alido, who fired even-par 36 points. Also counting for the team total were Ryan Monsalve with 32 and veteran Vince Lauron with 31. The 29 of Brixton Aw did not count.
Canlubang amassed 410 points off rounds of 138, 137, and 135 with Rupert Zaragosa leading his team on the third round with 38 points. Also scoring for the team were Carlo Villaroman and Luis Miguel Castro with 33 apiece and Marco Olives with 31. The 27 of Jakey Yulo did not count.
Sixteen points adrift is Luisita at third place with 394 points on rounds of 120, 135, and 139 while a far fourth is Orchard with 381 followed by Bukidnon’s Del Monte with 376.
“Canlubang will always be a tough team to contend with,” said Thirdy Escano, now the non-playing captain of Southwoods. He was in two previous squads that was denied to repeating as champions in the past.
“My team tomorrow (Saturday) is a stronger team, so we are relatively confident going into tomorrow (in the final round),” he said. “But of course, a lot of it will have to do with the experience of Canlubang. That’s the advantage they have.”
Canlubang, which is making a comeback in the men’s event, is also hoping to make it a double for the club as the also won the title in last week’s 30th PAL Seniors Interclub in the same venue.
Ex-pro Mark Dy shot 32 points to lead Cebu Country Club during the third round. The team has a three-day aggregate of 344 points on rounds of 110, 118, and 116.
Julius Pierre ‘Pio’ Neri, who led his team with an even-par 36 performance Thursday, carded 27 points to back Dy along with Bayani Garcia with 31 and Marc Gonzalez with 26. The 23 of Ferdie Chua did not count for the team total.
The five that will wrap the tournament up for the Cebuanos will be Dy, Garcia, JJ Alvarez, Jovi Neri, and Marko Sarmiento. This is probably the strongest five of the club.
At second spot is Tagaytay Highlands with 342 points (103-120-120) followed by Forest Hills with 341 (114-112-115) making it a three-way battle for the crown Saturday.
This newly-introduced third-ranked category of the tournament is proving to be a blockbuster move by the organizers with three teams seen to slug it out for the crown.
Manila Golf and Valley are tied for the lead with totals of 332 points while Bacolod’s Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club hovers just two points back the pacesetters.
Manila Golf shot rounds of 115, 113, and 104 while Valley made 108, 122, and 102.
Negros scored 121, 106 and 103.
Apo Golf Club of Davao, though nine points behind the co-leaders, cannot be counted out yet as the scores of the teams in this group have moved up and down each round as if they are on a roller-coaster.
Cebu’s Alta Vista Golf and Country Club is ouit of contention at ninth spot with a three-day total of 281 points as the team’s scores have gone on a downward trend for three days 99, 94, and 88.
Korean Rookie Kong Taeyun led Alta Vista with 28 points while Thomas Ngo, another rookie, shot 22 points. Also counting for the team total were Andrew ahn with 21 and skipper Enrico Solon with 17. The 16 points of Marlou Cugtas did not count.
Mactan Island Golf Club is tied for 15th of 25 teams in this group alongside Anvaya Cove.
Mactan had rounds of 87, 102, and 75. Counting for the team total in round three were Gerry Catindoy 25, Romano Castillon 20, Jeqs Jequinto 16, and Jay-R Aguilon `4. The 7 of BGen Raymundo Elefante did not count.
Navy has gone full speed ahead with 301 points. At second is Camp John Hay with 288 followed by Sta. Elena with 275.
Club Filipino Incorporada de Cebu is at seventh spot with 243 points on rounds of 80, 82, and 81.
Jufil Sato led the team with 25 points and was backed by political aspirants Raymond Garcia and Nilo Seno with 19 points apiece and last to count was Benjie Hortelano with 18. The 16 of Tedd Almario did not count.
Garcia and Seno share a lot in common. Both are lawyers and theyr are also seeking slots as city councilors of Cebu City and Mandaue City, respectively in the May 9 elections.
The Interclub is 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, TMC, Mastercard, Hytera and Rolls-Royce.
CHAMPIONSHIP– Manila Southwoods 411 (137-138-136), Canlubang 410 (138-137-135), Luisita 394 (120-135-139), The Orchard Golf 381 (125- 124- 132), Del Monte 376 (124-126-126), Mimosa 355 (118-114-123), Camp Evangelista 233 (76-98-59), SF Crystal Spring 215 (68-77-70)
FOUNDERS– Cebu Country Club 344 (110-118-116), Tagaytay Highland 343 (103- 120-120), Forest Hills 341(114-112-115), Villamor Airbase 328 (119-106-103), Socal Redhawk 327 (110-101-116), Alabang Golf 323 (102-111-110), Fil-Am Fairfield 256 (82-78-96), Fil-Am Hawaii 234 (85-81-68), Team Brookside 230 (91-54-85), Bay Area Golf Org 219 (74-89-61), KGC Boys Club Melbourne 219 (83-65-71), Camp Aguinaldo 200 ( 54-67-79), Pinoy YVR 144 (44- 70-30), Greater YVR Golf Assoc 116 (26-48-42), Leyte Golf 114 (35-49-30), RGC Riyadh 107 (42-24-41)
AVIATOR– Manila Golf 332 (115-113-104),Valley Golf and Country Club 332 (108-122-102), Negros Occidental Golf & Country Club 330 (121-106-103),Apo Golf and Country Club 323 (108-88-127), Wack Wack Golf and Country Club 322 (112-98-112), Rancho Palos Verdes 321 (109-103-109), Pueblo de Oro 312 (108-102-102), Zamboanga Golf 288 (107-92-89), Alta Vista Golf 281 ( 99-94-88), Riviera 277 (87- 93-97), Davao City Golf 272 (92-96-84), Sherwood Hills Golf 272 (89-81-102), ), Lumbia Golf 271 (95-84-92), Mactan Island Golf 264 (87-102-75), Anvaya Cove Golf 264 (73-92-99),Eagle Ridge 262 (91-87-84), Maharlika Golf 253 (88-82-83), Iligan Golf 220 (71-81-68), Iloilo Golf and Country Club 171 (81-96-94), Green West Golf 163 (45-49-69), Victorias Golf 150 (58-56-36), PGA British Colombia 143 (40-53-50), Fil-Oz Sydney 140 (58-50-32), Washington DC Golf 140 (52- 34-54), Filipino Golf Association 1- Riyadh 125 (46-52-27)
SPORTSWRITERS– Phil Navy 301 (104-97-100), Sta Elena Golf 275 (88-95-92), Camp John Hay 288 (80-107-101), Saranggani 263 (91-90-82), Stanford Golf 258 (72-87-99), South Cotabato 251 ( 77- 79-95), Club Filipino INC de Cebu 243 (80-82-81), Guinhalaran 229 (76-77-77), UP Tee Jots 229 (73-86-70), San Juanico Golf 224 (74-78-72), Van City 217 (69-68-80), Green Tee Riyadh 213 (64-81-68), South Bay Golf 213 (67-78-68), Veterans 212 (57-59-96), Cotabato Golf 210 (61-78-21), Seattle Golf Club 207 (50-49-108), Pearl Kay Hawaii 197 (70-72-55), Skywest 193 (63-72-58), Lanang Golf 188 (60-59-69), Filipino Golfers in the ME- UAE 167 (54-45-68),Yokohama Eagles 166 (43-67-56), Silicon Valley Golfers 160 (44-57-59),Pittsburg Fil-Am 153 (55-45-53), Melbourne Pinoy Golf 150 (44-53-53)
FRIENDSHIP– Mabuhay Golf Club of SFO 204 (66-61-77), Bacolod Golf 203 (67-67-69), Filipino Golfers in the Middle East Dubai 200 (61-74-65), Northgate Golf 188 (64-47-77), MSU 173 (65-66-42), Baguio Country Club 162 (56- 54-52), MT Malindang 162 (56-45-61), Filipino Golfers in the Middle East Abu Dhabi 142 (48-61-33), Moffet Field 120 (36-45-39), FGA- Kuwait 115 (38-38-39)