Led by Katsuragawa and Iwasaki, Southwoods reclaims PAL Interclub throne
BACOLOD—Responding to early final round pressure with stuff that makes champions, Manila Southwoods on Saturday reclaimed its old spot atop the Philippine Airlines Interclub with a performance so dominant the rest of the field looked a badly-beaten lot.
Seeing an overnight six-point lead reduced to five at the turn, the Southwoods bets turned up the heat coming home as Yuto Katsuragawa anchored a swashbuckling finish that had the squad closing out with 142 points for 504 overall, 26 points ahead of Luisita.
It was the fifth Championship division title in the last six years for Southwoods, and nonplaying skipper Thirdy Escano was elated, for not only did they bury the ghost of a shock loss last year in Cebu, but also in the way the players bounced back from a mediocre third round.
Katsuragawa fired a three-under-par 67 worth 39 points, redeeming himself from a lackluster 30 on Wednesday, and got solid back up from Aguri Iwasaki, who scored 36, and Santino Laurel and Josh Jorge, who chipped in with 34 and 33, respectively.
Jorge was good for just 28 and Laurel 21 in the first round, and Southwoods was so sharp in the closing 18 holes that it threw away the 30 of the veteran Jun Jun Plana.
“I’m doubly happy because they redeemed themselves. It shows character,” Escano told the Inquirer. “It was a great display of character—the way the young players played. They (young players) will eventually take over this team—and this tournament.
”And, as we all saw today, it’s in good hands,” he added before joining his players in celebrating the club’s seventh title overall near the 18th green of tree-lined Marapara here.
Luisita didn’t play bad at all, with Dan Cruz shooting 37 points and Jhondie Quibol accounting for 32. But its third and fourth players simply couldn’t keep up with their Southwoods counterparts, with Luis Guerrero and Leandro Bagtas good for just 29 and 28, respectively.
The Luisitans, who also finished second in the Senior division won by Canlubang last week, tallied 126 for 482, 26 points ahead of Del Monte, which was seemingly running on fumes on the final day to shoot 120 and bring up the Championship division rear.
“Any team that plays the back nine even-par or better deserves to win,” said Luisita’s Jeric Hechanova, referring to SW’s combined one-under-par card in the final nine holes.
Sharing the day’s limelight was Forest Hills, which held sway over at tree-lined Binitin in Murcia town to snare the rain-shortened Founders Division title by a point over Tagaytay Highlands.
Jude Eustaquio, who had a wonderful US NCAA career more than a decade ago, scored 34 points and Bong Brobio backed him up with 30 as Forest Hills closed out with 122 points for a 356 tally in the event which had its third round canceled on Friday because of heavy rains.
Rodel Mangulabnan and Dennis Nicomedes accounted for 29 apiece.
Junro Mamaril accounted for 34 points, Ale Stehmeier added 32, and Gab Macalaguim and former PBA player RJ Rizada shot 31 and 28 points, respectively, for Tagaytay Highland’s 125.
Riviera Golf finished another four points back despite shooting 130, as Jek Mendoza scored 34 and Vincent Escalona 32 to lead the squad that pipped Cebu Country Club for third spot.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.