S’woods takes 4
BACOLOD CITY—Unrelenting even on a day it could have taken things easy, Manila Southwoods on Sunday put the finishing touches to yet another thumping of the Philippine Airlines (PAL) Interclub Regular Men’s field and lined itself up for a shot at a long-standing record.
With three players cracking par and making tree-lined Marapara here look like a veritable playground, the Carmona-based parbusters tallied a closing 146 points to win the centerpiece division by 41 over Luisita and reign as kings for an unprecedented fourth straight year.
“We definitely have the materials to go for the record next year,” said a jubilant Thirdy Escaño, Southwoods’ nonplaying captain, referring to Canlubang’s record of five straight championships from 2006-2010.
Taisei Shimizu of Japan returned a three-under-par 67 worth 39 points, Chepe Dulay accounted for 38 and Yuto Katsuragawa atoned for a lackluster opening round with 37 as Southwoods totally blasted the field with a 72-hole, 551 total.
Steady Jun Jun Plana contributed 32 for Southwoods’ final score as the squad threw away the 25 of pro-bound Jama Reyes.
Southwoods has cracked several records during its streak, counting a 155-point—11-under—output in the third round at Rancho Pales Verdes in Davao last year.
An interesting sidelight developed in the battle for second place as Luisita stood its ground despite a week-worst 125, tallying 510 to clip Canlubang by eight points.
“This is a testament to all the hard work the players put in,” Escaño said. “We will definitely go for a fifth straight next year even if we stand to lose two members of this team.”
Senior stalwart Rodel Mangulabnan fired 33, with Dan Cruz and Don Petil shooting 31 each and either 30s of Leandro Bagtas or Jingy Tuason counting for Luisita, which has also embarked on its own grassroots program and is expected to challenge Southwoods in the future.
The Sugar Barons had their best performance for the week, a 133 built around the 36 of Jolo Magcalayo.
But Cangolf lagged too far behind at the start of the day and can look back at its atrocious second-round effort as the reason for its dismal third-place finish.
Luis Castro fired 35 and former national champion Rupert Zaragosa scored 32 for Cangolf, which got 30 from Jonas Magcalayo while discarding the 29 of JP De Claro.
Escaño said Southwoods has a deep pool of players that can make the squad formidable at least in the next three years.
Southwoods will lose Reyes and Tom Kim to the pro ranks, but Escaño believes they will still be favorites come next year.
“We still have a number of young players just waiting for their chance to shine,” he said. “There are boys willing and able to take the places of Jama and Tom, and one of them is a 13-year-old who will be the surprise of next year’s tournament.”
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