Bacolod—Manila Southwoods got the goods from Jung Hyun-jae and Masaichi Otake in the closing holes on Friday to cling precariously to the Championship division lead heading into the final 18 holes of the 73rd Philippine Airlines Interclub.
The duo returned four-over-par 74s worth 32 points each, boosting the Carmona-based squad to a 125 total for 362 to hold off Luisita, which made a bold charge with 135 points anchored on the tournament-best 39 points of Elee Bisera to come within six points.
That would make the final 18 holes interesting—if they will at all be played Saturday—as the threat of them being canceled cropped up with heavy rains pounding the Marapara course all afternoon long and early evening.
Del Monte bowed out of the fight after a measly 106 points, with Raul Minoza leading the squad with 30 for 336 overall.
Those rains called off third round play of the Founders and Friendship divisions, and if Binitin, where SW, Luisita and Del Monte played, holds up, then the final round of those tournaments will be held to be able to complete 54 holes as Forest Hills tries to cling to a four-point lead.
Sean Ramos accounted for 31 and Southwoods downplayed its efficiency by throwing away either 30 of Kristoffer Arevalo or Vince Lauron as the team held sway despite several stoppages in play because of heavy rains.
Southwoods remains to be the solid favorite to prevail because Japanese aces Yuto Katsuragawa and Aguri Iwasaki will be coming out for the final day together with Jun Jun Plana, Josh Jorge and Santino Laurel.
SW scored 122 points in the opening round, the best in the field on Wednesday.
Jung, the young South Korean birdied his last three holes and Otake two of his last four as Southwoods weathered a one-man charge by Bisera, who drained five birdies at the tight, tree-lined layout.
Forest Hills has a four-point lead over Tagaytay Highlands in the Founders, and both teams can field their best fives for the final 18 holes, slated at Binitin.
Cebu Country Club now doesn’t have a chance at a repeat for the overall title, but can settle for the second best thing with a mighty rally on Saturday’s final round. Cebu CC is just nine points behind of Forest Hills.
Hosted by Philippine Airlines, the international event is backed by platinum sponsors Asian Air Safari, Vanguard Radio Network, Fox Networks Group, Radio Mindanao Network, Inc., Asian Journal Publications Philippines, Inc., Auto Nation Group, Inc. (Mercedes Benz), and SMDC.
Major sponsors include The Boeing Company, University of Mindanao Broadcasting Network, Avolon Aerospace Singapore Pte Ltd, Manila Broadcasting Company, Primax Broadcasting, Rolls-Royce Singapore Pte Ltd, CIGNAL TV Inc., Travellers International Hotel Group Inc. (Resorts World), and Airbus.
Other supporters are Uniglobe Travelware Co., Inc. (The Travel Club), Philippine Manila Standard Publishing Inc. (Manila Standard), Officine Corporation, GE Aviation, SEDA Hotels, BDO Unibank, Smart Communications, Inc., People Asia Magazine, A+E Networks Asia (History), Allianz PNB Life, Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Tanduay Brands, Rockwell Land Corporation, Petron Corporation, Splash Corporation, AB Heineken Philippines Inc., and Asia Brewery Inc. – Summit.
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