DAVAO CITY – On a day of hot scoring, Luisita Golf Club built a 15-point lead over Del Monte, but kept a close watch on rival Canlubang which played its best round in recent memory in the 31st Philippine Airlines Senior Interclub golf team championships Thursday.
Eddie Bagtas led Luisita with 56 points, scattering five birdies against three birdies at the Rancho Palos Verdes.
But the day’s best score belonged to veteran Rolly Viray who produced a career-high 58 points that lifted defending champion Canlubang to third spot, 18 points off Luisita.
“Nakuha sa kanin at hotdog,” said the 67-year-old Viray in jest.
Viray, showing his skills around the greens, made only 24 putts in a bogey-free round marked by four birdies.
Together with Abe Rosal’s 53 and Abe Avena’s 51, the Sugar Barons returned with a staggering 162 points, 38 points better than their output at Apo Golf Wednesday.
Luisita, however, was up to the challenge, scoring 159 points behind Bagtas, Raffy Garcia (54) and Edmund Yee (49).
Two rounds into the four-day event, Luisita was on top with 304, followed by Del Monte 289, Canlubang 286 and Eagle Ridge 268.
“We’re happy with what we have achieved so far,” said Luisita non-playing captain Jeric Hechanova. “We’re not taking team any team for granted, but if we go into the final day with a 12-point lead, it would be very hard to overcome.”
Hechanova said he expects Canlubang to field a strong team Friday in the hope of cutting the deficit to manageable level.
Last year in Clark, Angeles, the Sugar Barons won their ninth championship after erasing a 12-point deficit in the third round to go 2-up.
Del Monte failed to keep pace with Luisita and Canlubang, tallying 146 points on Raul Miñoza’s 52 and the pair of 47s by Yoyong Velez and Callo Arnido.
Eagle Ridge drew 51 points from Antonio Mendoza, 46 from Youn Hwan An and 40 from Cesar Castro.
Meanwhile, a four-horse race is shaping up in the Founders division halfway through the event.
Orchard led Cebu Country Club by a single point with Davao City Golf and Pueblo de Oro within seven points off the leader.