BACOLOD CITY-Midway through the hostilities of the 71st PAL Interclub here in Binitin and by current indications, it looks like four-peat seeking Manila Southwoods would take the competition by the scruff of its neck.
The fancied team is inching closer to history as the first team to win four straight times in the country’s oldest, largest and most prestigious golf team competition.
Southwoods pushed their tally to 279 and went 23 points over surprise second placer Luisita and 29 over fierce rival Canlubang.
The Carmona-based team now only has Luisita to consider as chief threat to its date with destiny.
Even Luisita non-playing skipper Jeric Hechanova was surprised at the prime spot they are right now.
“I’m very surprised with the results because we did not expect to be in this position,” Hechanova said as his “developmental” team tallied 128 points in both Marapara and in Binitin to wrap up the halfway mark of the competition.
“Everybody expected Southwoods and Canlubang fighting at the top, nobody expected us to be in second place. And we’re happy about that,” he added.
“We were just trying to see if we could at most land at 3rd, but then the players played better in the back nine and I think we’re the surprise team right now,” said Hechanova
The father-son tandem of Eddie and Leandro Luis Bagtas led the Tarlac-based team after the younger Bagtas scored 36 points in the opener, while his father Eddie booked 34 points, the same with Benjamin Sumulong in the second.
Comprising of six youngsters and four seniors, Hechanova said Luisita is looking just to play competitive enough in the on-going tourney that the jungolfers gain enough experience for future competitions.
“This is really a developmental team that we’ve entered. We are looking at maybe three or four more years before this team really gets into contention for the championship,” he said.
In fact, it was the young bloods that led the way in the opening match day with 19-year-old SEA Games alum Dan Emilio Cruz tallying 31 points, while Don Petil added 30 for Luisita. Fourteen-year-old Sean Jean Ramos was good enough for 31 points in Binitin yesterday.
“Hopefully, they will be more experienced and seasoned and they will handle the pressure better,” Hechanova said.
This year’s Interclub’s Platinum sponsors this year 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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