by Rey Bancod
CEBU CITY – Cebu Country Club inched closer to becoming the second team from the Founders division to win the 72nd Philippine Airlines Interclub golf team championships following another solid outing at the Mactan Island Golf Club Friday.
CCC, a two-time winner, matched the 131 points of Manila Southwoods to retain a four-point lead over the defending champions.
Luisita stayed in the hunt with 132 points for 364, eight points off the pace.
“Do you see the worry on my face?” feigned Thirdy Escano, the non-playing captain of Manila Southwoods. “We played better today. Hopefully, we play our best tomorrow.”
The final battleground will take place at Cebu Country Club where the home team is hoping to win its first crown since winning back-to-back from 2012.
“We prepared very, very hard in this event by practicing countless times at Mactan. But we didn’t expect for this to be happening, but definitely we’ll go for it tomorrow,” said CCC playing captain Marco Sarmiento.
Bayani Garcia mixed five birdies with the same number of bogeys to return with 36 points and drew solid support from Marc Gonzalez 35 and Jon Joseph Alvarez 33. The 27 of either Eric Deen or Martin Mendoza counted for CCC which now has a three-day aggregate of 376.
After so-so rounds of 125 and 116, Manila Southwoods saw four players scoring in the 30s, namely: Sean Jean Ramos 36, Masaichi Otake 33, Adric Chan 32 and Jae Hyun Jung 30.
Luisita also made its move through Luis Miguel Guerrero 35, Perry Bucay 34, Jhondie Quibol 32 and Elee Bisera 31. Carlo Villaroman did not count with 27.
Del Monte and Tagaytay Highlands, the other teams in the championship division, faded with 360 and 337, respectively.
Scoring for Del Monte were Jovenco Lusterio 31, Raul Minoza 30, Crispin Aparilla 29 and Julius Langamin 27.
Highlands, on the other hand, drew 29 points from Junro Mamaril and 25 each from Jenz Tecson, Raymund Sangil and Ace Stehmeier.
The first and only time a Founders campaigner won the Interclub was Aguinaldo in 1988.
CCC enjoys the home course advantage on Saturday but Southwoods has the more formidable final round lineup led by Japanese Yuto Katsuragawa. The other players include former world junior champion Kristoffer Arevalo, Carl Corpus, Chepe Dulay and Josh Jorge.
CCC has Garcia, Sarmiento, Harvey Sytiongsa, Mark Dy and Julius Pierre Neri.
Elsewhere, Orchard trails CCC by 23 points in the Founders while Club Filipino de Cebu leads Aviator.
This year’s Interclub is sponsored by Radio Mindanao Network, Asian Air Safari, and Vanguard Radio Network. Also extending support are ABS-CBN Global Ltd. (The Filipino Channel), Rolls Royce, Primax Broadcasting Network, UM Broadcasting Network (Mindanao), Fox Sports, Cignal TV, GECAS, Boeing, Lufthansa Technik AG, Manila Standard, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, Dusit Thani Manila, and Casino Filipino. Official hotel is Quest Hotel Conference Center Cebu.