CEBU—Cebu Country Club’s strong opening-day lineup failed to churn out the rip-roaring start that it wanted, but it still was enough to give the defending champions the shaky lead in the Philippine Airlines Interclub’s championship division.
Burly Bayani Garcia and 17-year-old phenom LJ Go fired 32 points each—four-over-par 76s in medal play—to highlight a truly trying day at tight and hard Mactan Island Golf Club, as Cebu CC opened up with a measly 120 points for a one-point lead over former champion Del Monte.
“It was a struggle out there,” Cebu CC official Jeric Hechanova said. “Everyone had a difficult time because they were so unfamiliar with Mactan. But we got what we wanted, and that is to be able to come into the second round playing our home course holding the lead.”
Jovi Neri, a lawyer, fired 30 points and former pro Carl Almario and Mark Dy had 26s to make up the Cebu CC score, one of the lowest ever rounds by a leader in the 66-year-old history of the Interclub.
Del Monte, the 2011 champion, unveiled a surprise package in 15-year-old Jelbert Gamolo, who fired a day-best 34 points that had the Bukidnon-based bets shooting 119. Noel Langamin fired a 30 and Del Monte counted the 28 of Francis Morilla and 27 of Leonardo Lofranco before discarding the 25 of Jovencio Lusterio.
Sta. Elena was a far fourth after the first day of skirmishes, shooting 97 points built around the 31 of Jingy Tuason. Yuri Allado had 26 with Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia accounting for 22 and Pepito Angeles 18 for Sta. Elena
Orchard also struggled to shoot just 114 points, but it was also enough to give it a nine-stroke lead over Southwoods after TJ Benitez fired a 30 and King Stehmeier contributed 29 points.
Allan Arcilla fired a 28 and Ace Stehmeier added 27 to complete scoring for Orchard, even as Steve Yoon paced Southwoods with 31. Apo Golf, Negros and Eagle Ridge all pooled 103s with defending champion Wack Wack good for only 99 points.
Play in both divisions shift to Cebu Country Club today and the hosts are fielding in another formidable five led by nine-time club champion Montito Garcia. Eric Deen, Neri, Marko Sarmiento and team rookie Andre Borromeo are the others seeing action today for Cebu CC.
Alabang was another two points behind Del Monte after Justin Quiban, who was supposed to play for Marapara, and talented lefty Andres Saldana fired 32s. Miguel Shah and Dax Garcia shot 27 and 26, respectively, with the 25 of junior campaigner Christopher Popp thrown out by the Muntinlupa-based squad.
“I thought I played well despite shooting a 32,” Garcia, whose family owns the biggest-circulating newspaper in this city, said. “But we hope to get separation from the pack (today) when we play our home course.”
The field will return to playing a regular tournament course at the Cebu CC, the character of which—well-manicured, soft fairways, firm and sleek greens—vary greatly from the hard fairways and slow, soft greens of Mactan Island.
“We really had a very difficult time putting,” Garcia added. “The greens were very slow and were very hard to read.”
The PAL Interclub is being sponsored by the Department of Tourism, 105.1 Crossover, Solar Sports, Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, 92.3 FM Radyo 5, Araneta Coliseum and AXN. Major sponsors are Airbus, Manila Broadcasting Corporation, Philippine Broadcasting Network, People Asia, Radio Mindanao Network, Business Mirror and ABS-CBN The Filipino Channel (TFC).
Corporate sponsors include Radisson Blu Hotel, Shangri-La Resort & Spa, Boeing, Inquirer Golf Magazine, Philippines Graphic and Manila Bulletin.
120 – Cebu; 119 – Del Monte; 117 – Alabang; 97 – Sta Elena; 70 – Pearl Kai Hawaii; 68 – Greenhills West; 58 – Vancouver Golf; 57 – Brotherhood; 55 – Van City; 50 – Leyte, Fil-Oz Sydney; 46 – SFO Heritage; 42 – South Bay; 33 – 40 Love Darwin; 29 – Greater YVR, Baguio; 28 – Yokohama Eagles; 19 – Kuwait
114 – Orchard; 105 – Southwoods; 103 – Apo, Negros, Eagle Ridge; 102 – Villamor; 100 – Alta Vista, Forest Hills, Valley Golf; 99 – Wack Wack; 93 – Manila Golf, Riviera; 92 – Palos Verdes; 90 – Tagaytay; 84- Iligan
108 – Zamboanga; 103 – Saranggani; 102 – Mactan; 101 – Red Hawk; 99 – Club Filipino; 95 – Camp John Hay; 94 – Bay Area; 90 – Evangelista; 89 – PGA BC; 86 – San Juanico, Stanford, FGA1 Riyadh; 85 – Phil Navy, Sherwood, Lumbia; 84 – Maharlika; 83 – Pueblo DeOro, FilAm Fairfield; 82 – UP Tee Jots; 81- Davao, Iloilo; 78 – Bacolod, Guinhalaran; 77 – South Cotabato; 76 – Lanang; 73 – Austral Asian; 68 – Victorias; 63 – Pinoy YVR; 53 – Melbourne Pinoy; 51 – Seattle; 30 – Riyadh
87 – Fil-Am Hawaii; 80 – Mabuhay SFO; 71—Northgate; 70—Figme; 68—Pittsburg; 67—Cotabato; 56-Green Tee, SFO Crystal Springs; 54-Skywest; 53 – Mt Malindang; 44 – Moffet Field.