By REY BANCOD
DAVAO CITY – Manila Southwoods played its worst round in four days but still posted a runaway 44-point victory Saturday at the close of the 70th Philippine Airlines Interclub golf team championships.
With the title already in the bag as early as Friday, the Carmona-based squad made only 120 points at the Apo Golf and Country Club to capture its third straight championship with 547 points.
It was the biggest winning margin in Interclub history, underscoring the depth of talent the squad enjoys.
Junjun Plana, at 49 the oldest member of the youth-laden squad, led Southwoods with 33 points and got solid support from Tom Kim who turned in 30 points. Other scorers were Kristoffer Arevalo 29 and Jets Sajulga 28.
Southwoods non-playing captain Thirdy Escaño was gracious in victory.
“I have so much respect for Canlubang. We had a great day yesterday and they didn’t have a good day so I think that’s where the tournament was won,” Escaño said. “But if they also played well yesterday, it would’ve been a closer fight.”
Escaño believes that Canlubang will come out stronger next year.
“I’m sure Canlubang will bounce back after this year and I got to prepare a better team next year because I know Canlubang will not allow this to happen again next year,” he said.
Escaño cited the support of the club members and vowed to continue helping young, promising golfers.
“We have a lot of talent for golf here, it’s a competition that the Filipino can excel in. People who are in a position should give them the resources to be able to bring their talent to a different level,” he said.
Eight of Southwood players are under 20 years old bolstering its chances of dominating the event in the years to come.
Two of its players – Ira Alido and Sajulga, however, are turning pro this year.
Aside from the winning margin, Southwoods also set records for the team’s single-day total of 11-under and Yuto Katusrugawa’s six-under 42 points last Friday.
Canlubang closed out with 114 for 503 points to take second place.
Del Monte accounted for the day’s best score of 123 points to finish third with 472 while Luisita wound up fourth with 467 following a 106.
“My hats off to Southwoods. They have a better prepared team,” said Canlubang non-playing skipper Luigi Yulo who congratulated Escano even before the final putt.
Yulo vowed to come up with a better prepared team next year.
Rupert Zaragosa and Gido Mandanas had 32 points apiece for Canlubang while Carlo Villaroman and Marco Olives chipped in a pair of 25 points.
Del Monte leaned on former national player Jelbert Gamolo who sizzled with 36 points. Also scoring for the Bukidnon-based squad were Mellurence Cubillo 32, Raul Miñoza 28 and Rolando Bregente 27.
Canlubang took a consolation when rookie Jolo Magcalayo won the individual crown after scoring 41 points at Palos Rancho Verdes and 36 at Apo.
Luisita’s scorers were Don Petil 29, Leando Bagtas 26, Josh Jorge 26 and Eddie Bagtas 25.
The 70th PAL Interclub Platinum sponsors are Mareco Broadcasting Network, A&E Networks Asia, RMN Networks, The Manila Standard, Fox Networks Group, Rolls-Royce, TV5, MasterCard, TFC and Business Mirror.
Major sponsors include Asian Air Safari, Airbus, Primax Broadcasting Network and Sabre Airline Solutions while Corporate sponsors are Baron Travel Corporation, Boeing, MX3, GE Aviation, Bombo Radyo Philippines, Asia Brewery, Tanduay Distillers, Sabre Airline Solutions and Tourism Promotions Board.
The donors are Shangri-La at The Fort, Trinity Insurance and Eton Properties.
Manila Southwoods 547 (136-136-155-120), Canlubang 503 (125-133-131-114), Del Monte 472 (111-127-111-123), Luisita 467 (115-117-129-106)