Luisita ends Canlubang reign by 2
BACOLOD—With its veteran core assembling the tournament’s best output of 147 in the final round Sunday, Luisita ended the three-year reign of Canlubang with a gritty two-point victory in the Seniors division of the 67th Philippine Airlines Interclub golf tournament here.
Team captain Francis Gaston sparked Luisita’s come-from-behind win with 51 points, Bong Sison added 50 and Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia completed the scoring with a 46 as Canlubang managed just 143 this time after outscoring its main rival, 144-133, in the second round also at Marapara course of Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club to grab the lead by nine.
“Not in our house,” said Garcia as the Tarlac-based squad regained the title it last won in 2010 by similarly dominating the last round at Marapara where he and Gaston learned to play the game.
Trailing by two after three rounds, Luisita finished with a 564 total in pulling off the closest finish in this tournament for players 55 years and above. Canlubang won by three in 2012 and by six last year. The margin was four when Luisita prevailed four years ago.
Rolly Viray led Canlubang, which was gunning for an eighth title in the last nine years, with 50 points and along with his opening 51 from Binitin course of Bacolod Golf and Country Club emerged as the best scorer among entries who both played Binitin and Marapara.
Reigning national seniors champion Abe Avena produced a 49 while playing against Gaston while Mari Hechanova finished two down on Garcia with a 44.
With Sison matching Viray shot for shot the rest of the way, Luisita wiped out Canlubang’s overnight lead of two after the front nine to grab the lead. Gaston was up 27-23 over Abena while Garcia led Hechanova by a point.
“Now there’s no need for me to play next year,” joked Luisita team manager Joey Romasanta, who found a vital addition this time in former pro Eddie Bagtas. A former Luisita mainstay in the regular Men’s division, Bagtas paced the team’s scoring in two rounds at Binitin and managed to cut Canlubang’s nine-point lead to just two going into the last round.
It would have been a tie had Canlubang not lost two points assessed on a wrong drop by Rene Unson in the second round. However, Luisita still had the edge in such a case since its fourth man Iggy Clavecilla had outscored Saso Mazakazu, 42-34.
With O.V. Espiritu amassing 52 points, Manila Golf Club rallied to place third in its debut in the Championship division, nipping Orchard by a point with a 536 total. MGC matched its second-round total of 140 with Jaime Fernandez scoring 45 and Alex Prieto adding a 43.
Negros Occidental CC-Marapara won the Founders Division over Alta Vista by three with a 511. Bacolod topped the Sportswriters division over Victorias by three points with 434. Sienna Plantation ruled the Friendship class with 420.
(NOTES: This year’s Interclub is 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 Corp., Manila Broadcasting Corp. and Manila Bulletin.
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