BACOLOD – Despite its top gun jamming in the back nine, Manila Southwoods yesterday still had too much in its arsenal and opened up a 12-point lead after the first round of the 71st PAL Interclub Regular Men’s Championship at the Marapara layout here.
Taisei Shimizu of Japan took over the spearhead’s role when his fancied countryman Yuto Katsuragawa couldn’t get going, shooting an eagle-spiked three-under-par 68 worth 38 points as Southwoods tallied 140 and threatened to complete its date with history in blowout fashion.
“That was actually our target, to shoot 140, which I knew would give us the lead,” Southwoods’ non-playing skipper Thirdy Escano said after Shimizu completed a routine par 5 on the 600-yard 18th.
Chepe Dulay birdied the closing hole for a 37, the veteran Jun Jun Plana accounted for 34 and Jama Reyes’ 31 counted as the last score for Southwoods after Katsuragawa bogeyed his last five holes and threw away an otherwise good round for a 30.
“We really weren’t mindful of what the other teams were scoring,” Escano added. “I just asked the players for a 140 and they gave me that. We have the same target (in the second round tomorrow) and we’ll see where that takes us.”
Southwoods is seeking to become the first team to win this event three straight years, and the Carmona-based squad’s overpowering opening round performance even with Katsuragawa not counting has certainly given Escano’s players even more confidence.
It was surprising enough that Katsuragawa finished on a limp, but also unexpected was Luisita emerging as the chief threat after Canlubang’s first round team struggled big time to trail by 21 in third spot.
Leandro Bagtas scored a level 36, Dan Cruz and Rodel Mangulabnan accounted for 31 each and Don Petil fired 30 for Luisita, which has also started a grassroots program to be able to contend in this division in the years to come.
The Sugar Barons couldn’t do better than assemble a 119 after their own anchor, many-time national champion Rupert Zaragosa, struggled to post 29. Lester Lagman had 31 points and Gido Mandanas 30 to make for the bulk of the Canlubang score.
Action shifts to Binitin in Murcia town for the next two rounds starting today, and Escano bared that at least four of the five players that didn’t open hostilities are set to suit up.
“We have a game plan and there’s no use veering away from that,” he said. “It’s their (second team’s) turn to give us 140 (points).”
Former junior world champ Kristoffer Arevalo and veteran internationalists Aidric Chan, Carl Corpus, Paolo Wong and defending individual champion Tom Kim are still at Escano’s disposal.
This year’s Interclub’s Platinum sponsors this year are RMN and Manila Times, while major sponsors are Mastercard, The Philippine Manila Standard, Rolls Royce, Bombardier, TV5, Primax, BusinessWorld, Crossover and Fox.
Other sponsors include Boeing, PAGCOR, Belmonte Hotel, Eton Properties and Asia Brewery, Inc.(pr)
Day 1 COMPLETE SCORES
Championship : Manila Southwoods 140, Luisita 128, Canlubang 119, Del Monte 110
Friendship: Bay Area 88, South Cotabato 87, San Juanico 80, Mt Malindang 78, Pittsburg Filam 73, Iligan 71, Lanang 71, Van City 70, Baguio 65, SF Crystal Springs 65, Mabuhay Golf SFO 65, Dubai 62, New Zealand Black Tees 61, Filipino Golfers Assoc Kuwait Team 1 59, Greater Vancouver 54, Silicon Valley 50, Fil Oz Sydney 44, Skywest 42, Filipino Golfers in the Middle East UAE 41, Cotabato 38, Filipino Golfers Assoc Kuwait Team 2 25
Sportswriters: Guinhalaran 89, Mactan Island 88, Tagaytay Midlands 86, Melbourne Pinoy 85, Fil-Am Fairfield 82, Club Filipino de Cebu 80, Zamboanga 78, Bacolod 76, Cattle Creek 76, Iloilo 74, UP Tee Jots 73, Camp Evangelista 71, Fil-Am Hawaii 63, Seattle 60, MSU Marawi 58, Pearl Kai Hawaii 57, PGA Britsh Columbia 52, Green Tee Club Riyadh 47, Par Breakers 40, SF Maharlika 34,
Aviator: Negros Occidental 105, Sherwood Hills 102, Lumbia 95, Rancho Palos Verdes 93, Ata Elena 88, Alta Vista 84, Sarangani – Gensan 83, Eagle Ridge 76, Apo 75, Davao City 74, Stanford 74, Camp John Hay 71, Greenhills West 52, Moffet Field 31, Yokohama Eagles 28
Founders: Forest Hills 117, Villamor Airbase 110, Wack Wack 112, Valley Golf CC 110, Cebu 108, The Orchard 106, Riviera 101, Tagaytay Highlands 98, Alabang 95, Southern California Redhawks 93, Pueblo de Oro 86, Manila Golf 82, Summit Point 78, Camp Aguinaldo 72, Pinoy Vancouver 60