Cangolf, Luisita brace for PAL showdown

By Olmin Leyba, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 23 2014 03:32 PM | Updated as of Feb 23 2014 11:32 PM

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – The chase for the title in the 67th Philippine Airlines Seniors Interclub golf tourney will culminate in typical Canlubang-versus-Luisita fashion – down-to-the-wire.

Canlubang stayed ahead of a charging Luisita but only held a threadlike two-point lead, 419-417, as the stage is set for yet another pulsating race to the finish at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club today.

The Sugar Barons carded 133 points at tight, tree-lined fairways of Bacolod Golf and Country Club’s Binitin course yesterday – their worst output in three days – to find their overnight nine-point margin chopped by Luisita, which checked in with 140 to close in.

“We like where we are right now. We’re gonna give it a go tomorrow (today),” said Canlubang team captain Tony Olives.

The final reckoning takes place at the par-70 Marapara, with Abe Avena, Mari Hechanova, Saso Mazakasu, and Rolly Viray tasked to hold fort for the four-peat-seeking Cangolf, and Iggy Clavecilla, Richie Garcia, Francis Gaston and Bong Sison slated to carry the fight for Luisita and wrest the diadem from their rivals.

“The friendly rivalry between Luisita and Canlubang is always a tradition of excitement and last day heroics; everything is decided on the final day. We’ll give them a good fight,” said Luisita team manager Joey Romasanta.

Canlubang’s third round bets were slowed down by the windy and tough course conditions of Binitin, with Dave Hernandez shooting a 49 – equivalent to five-over on stroke play – and Olives and Rene Unson logging 43 and 41, respectively. Luigi Yulo’s 38 didn’t count.

Ex-pro Eddie Bagtas reenacted his first round heroics at Binitin, firing a 51 to follow up his 52-pointer last Thursday and lead Luisita’s searing fightback. Sison and Lino Magpantay turned in 45 and 44, respectively, as the Tarlac-based team positioned itself for an ambush on Cangolf.

Orchard seized third spot after turning in the day’s best score of 142 for a 404 total, relegating Manila Golf (396 after a third-round 130) to fourth.

Lee Jun-Bai, the Korean first-timer who was disqualified for signing the wrong score in the first round, came back with a vengeance and posted a 49. He was backed up by Chito Servida’s 47 and Nestor Sevilla’s 46.

Manila Golf drew 45 from Eduardo Cu-unjieng, 44 from Arsenic Laurel, and 41 from OV Espiritu.

Meanwhile, NOGCC-Marapara continued to hold sway in the Founders competition, scoring 137 for a leading 392. Alta Vista (125) stood 16 points behind at 376, followed by Wack Wack at 373.

Elsewhere, Victorias vaulted into the lead in the Sportswriters division with 326 while Sienna Plantation took top view in the Frienship category with 38.

This year’s Interclub is being co-sponsored by CrossOver with Boeing, Philippines Graphic, Stargate Media (People Asia) and Rogue as corporate backers. Also lending support are Airbus, Business Mirror, One Mega Group (Travel Now), Philippine Broadcasting Corporation, Manila Broadcasting Corporation and Manila Bulletin.