Southwoods rewrites history

BACOLOD – Never letting up until the very end, Manila Southwoods ran away with the Regular Men’s title in the PAL Interclub and established a new record by becoming the first team to ever win this event four straight years.

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OUT OF THE BUNKER Vincent Gumapac of Rancho Palos Verdes Golf and Country Club manages to blast it out from the bunker over at the Marapara course of the 71st Philippine Airlines (PAL) Interclub golf tournament. Gumapac scored 27 points for a 92-point Day 4 total. As of presstime Rancho Palos Verdes is at fourth with a total of 383 points (93-92-106-92) in the Aviators Class. Photo by Boy Lim

Comfortably ahead going into the final day at Marapara here with a 20-point lead, the Carmona-based squad didn’t leave any room for anyone to stage a comeback and amassed a closing 146 for a 72-hole 551 tally.

Southwoods prevailed by an astounding 41 points over Luisita, which nipped Canlubang by eight. The margin of victory is one of the biggest and downplayed Southwoods’ dominance of the field.

“This only goes to show that our grassroots program continues to work,” an elated Thirdy Escano, Southwoods’ non-playing skipper, said of the record, which came just over a month after tournament host PAL was given a four-star rating by Skytrax, the global body that rates airlines and airports all over the world.

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RANCHO PALOS VERDES. Some of the members of team Rancho Palos Verdes pose for posterity in the 71st PAL Interclub played at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club. In photo are Ninot Galicia, Joseph Ng, Leo Yap, EJ Casintahan and Vincent Gumapac. Photo by Boy Lim

Luisita carded its worst score for the week, a 125, but clung on to runner-up position even after Cangolf charged with its best round in four days, a 133, for 502 overall.

Taisei Shimizu reprised his opening round brilliance by shooting a three-under-par 67 worth 39 points, with Chepe Dulay firing 38 and Yuto Katsuragawa assembling a 37 to make up for the bulk of Southwoods’ closing round.

The veteran Jun Jun Plana’s 32 was the fourth-best score for Southwoods, which got a measly 25 from pro-bound Jama Reyes.

Southwoods is also set to lose Tom Kim, last year’s individual champion, to the pro ranks, but Escano believes that his squad if good for championship runs at least for the next three years.

“We have young, brilliant players still waiting for their chance to shine,” Escano said. “Southwoods is committed to giving these players the break they need. We are simply giving back what the game of golf has given to us.”

Rodel Mangulabnan fired 33, Don Petil and Dan Cruz added 31 each and either 30s of Jingy Tuason and Leandro Bagtas counted for Luisita, which has also started building the core of its team with young talents the last three years.

Jolo Magcalayo matched par for 36 points and Luis Castro added 35 for Canlubang, which hasn’t won this event since 2010.

This year’s Interclub Platinum sponsors are RMN and Manila Times, while major sponsors are Mastercard, The Philippine Manila Standard, Rolls Royce, Bombardier, TV5, Primax, BusinessWorld, Crossover and Fox.

Other sponsors include Boeing, PAGCOR, Belmonte Hotel, Eton Properties and Asia Brewery, Inc.

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