Luisitans, Sugar Barons struggle on Marapara’s greens to wind up tied for lead
BACOLOD CITY—With the greens of the Marapara layout proving a difficult puzzle to solve, the star-studded Luisita and Canlubang crews on Wednesday pooled 139s to tie for the first-round lead of the 34th Philippine Airlines Interclub Senior championship as none of their players breached the 50-point mark.
Luisita star Eddie Bagtas returned a six-over-par 76 worth 48 points at the tree-lined, bending layout, where he closed out with four straight bogeys even as Tommy Manotoc accounted for 46 points despite making the turn at seven-over. But the ageless leader of the Sugar Barons three-putted the ninth hole—the final foursome’s last hole—to miss giving Canlubang the lead in the centerpiece event regarded as the country’s unofficial team golf championship.
“I lost my temper when I started missing putts,” Bagtas said in Filipino after muffing a putt from tap-in distance on the ninth. Jingy Tuason scored 46 and Demi Saclot 45 to complete scoring for the Luisitans.
Abe Rosal led the Barons with 48 points with Damasus Wong shooting 45 as Canlubang threw away the 44 of Zaldy Villa in what could be considered an efficient day.
Edwin Ordonez fired 49, former national champion Francis Gaston and Chito Garcia accounted for 43s as the host club trailed the joint leader by just four points with Cebu Country Club another 10 points adrift.Second-round action shifts to Binitin in Murcia town where the challenge is basically the same, with the layout one of the narrowest in the country where bounces on the fairways are unpredictable.
Del Monte Golf Club scored 134 points and wheeled into contention for the overall championship despite playing in the lower Founders Division.
Yoyong Velez was the day’s best scorer with 51 points, although the Bukidnon-based squad was slowed down by the 44 of Erning Apas and the 39 of Romeo Bautista.
Cebu CC, which will defend the Men’s Regular championship next week, won last year in Cebu coming from the Founders Division.
Luisita captain Jeric Hechanova was relieved of the outcome despite a bad day on the greens.
“We played badly, but the good thing is that we are still tied with Canlubang,” Hechanova said.
Cangolf counterpart Tony Olives, meanwhile, was just relieved that his Barons weren’t trailing after the first round, the first time that this has happened in a long while.
“We’re used to trailing at the start,” Olives said. “We were lucky to be able to tie Luisita.”
Del Monte opened a four-point lead over Eagle Ridge with Orchard taking third spot with 124. Defending champion Southwoods is in fourth spot, just nine points behind.
In other divisions, Club Filipino de Cebu paced Aviator with 118, Van City led Sportswriters with 120 while Lumbia was on top with 94 in the Friendship class.
The first-round scores:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Canlubang 139, Luisita 139, Negros Occidental 135, Cebu Country Club 125
FOUNDERS: Del Monte 134, Orchard 132, Eagle Ridge 130, Manila Southwoods 125, Riviera Golf 122, Camp John Hay 119, Manila Golf 109, Southern California Redhawk 107 , Valley Golf 105, Wack Wack 101, Leyte Golf 98, Fil Am Hawaii 92
AVIATOR: Sherwood Hills 124, Villamor Airbase 123, Iloilo Golf 120, Pueblo de Oro 120, Zamboanga Golf 119, Club Filipino de Cebu 118, Alabang Golf 113, Camp John Hay Pugad 111, Club Intramuros Seniors 109, Camp Evangelista 108, Mimosa Golf 105, Guinhalaran Golf 102, Alta Vista 101, Eagle Ridge Lagitek 101, Bay Area Golf Team 2 101.
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