Final-round shootout looms as SMC-NCC ties Southwoods
BAGUIO — Pint-sized Rupert Zaragosa sizzled with a six-under 63 worth 42 points as San Miguel Corp.-Northern Cement pooled 143 to catch defending champion Manila Southwoods at the helm Friday, setting the stage for a shootout in the centerpiece Fil-Championship of the 66th Fil-Am Golf Invitational.
Zaragosa eagled No. 7 of Camp John Hay on the way to carding the day’s best output, the veteran Eddie Bagtas produced a 39 and Jelbert Gamolo and JP de Claro added a 32 and 30, respectively, for SMC-NCC.
Manila Southwoods, which led by three after two rounds at the shorter but trickier Baguio Country Club, settled for 140 with Filipino-Japanese Yuto Katsuragawa also gunning down an eagle on the way to a team-best 38.
Chepe Dulay shot a 35 and reigning individual champion Justin Quiban and Kristoffer Arevalo chipped in 35 and 30, respectively, to round out the Carmona-based squad’s scoring.
With identical 395s, Southwoods and SMC-NCC brace for what promises to be the fiercest final-round duel ever for the coveted crown in the annual event presented by Toyota.
“It’s going to be a good match [today]. Despite the tied score, my boys’ spirits remain high,” said Southwoods skipper Thirdy Escaño.
While Escano is confident of his wards’ chances, focus will also be on Zaragosa, who hopes to sustain his fine form after improving his previous best of 41 last year.
Zaragosa lost by one to Quiban last year.
“It’s anybody’s game,” said SMC-NCC captain Bobby Iñigo.
Royal Northwoods lay third with 377 after a 136 with Jobim Carlos carding a 39, Carlo Villaroman adding a 35, and Liam Cully and Carlo Gatmaytan tossing in 30 points apiece.
Luisita drew 38 points from Cebuano Wei Wei Gao as it pooled a 134 for a 374. Brian Kim backed Gao with a 36 while Tom Kim and Wei Yu Gao also counted with similar 30s.
Meanwhile, Manila Southwoods’ Am Championship team virtually clinched the title with 112 at the BCC layout for 378, a whopping nine points clear of Batangas Barakos, which had 269 after a 107. Valley/Razon of Guagua assembled 334 after a 93 for third.
BCC, meanwhile, snatched the Fil-B crown with 433 after a 117, beating CJH, which wavered with a 99 for a 429. Che’lus I placed third with a 420 after a 103.
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