BACOLOD CITY: Canlubang primed itself for a 10th championship after seizing a seven-point lead over defending champion Luisita Saturday in the 32nd Philippine Seniors Interclub golf team tournament.
No one broke 50 points on a day Binitin course turned out to be a tough customer, but the Sugar Barons salvaged 140 points behind the 48 of Dr. Pem Rosal.
Rosal, playing the Interclub for the first time after spending the last 30 years in the United States, did not make a single birdie, but managed to avoid the double bogeys that hurt most of the players.
With Abe Avena and Mari Hechanova adding 47 and 45, respectively, Canlubang posted 140 points that raised its total to 433 points.
Dave Hernandez, one of three Canlubang players who played Binitin twice, did not count with 44, his birdie-less round hurt by a pickup on the sixth hole.
After returning with 149 points Friday, Luisita slumped to 131 points, a score that raised doubts on its ability to defend its title.
Raffy Garcia, who had 50 points Friday, struggled with 45, Benjie Sumulong scored 44 and Chito Laureta rounded up scoring for Luisita with 42.
Edmund Yee, Luisita’s top scorer at Marapara Thursday with 50, had a forgettable 39.
Del Monte, the third team in the championship division, had a total of 41 points after submitting 136. Scoring for the Mindanao-based squad were Ramon Velez 48, Antonio Arancon 44 and Erning Apas 44.
The three teams return to Marapara on Sunday for the final round with both Canlubang and Luisita exuding confidence.
“It is not a safe lead, but it’s nice to carry that to Marapara,” said Canlubang mainstay Rolly Viray.
Luisita captain Jeric Hechanova remains optimistic.
“No excuses. Our team played bad but fortunately, there’s one more day to go. I feel we have a stronger lineup tomorrow,” Hechanova said.
Eddie Bagtas will lead Luisita’s final round cast. The others are Jingy Tuason, Rodel Mangulabnan and Benjie Sumulong.
They will be up against Abe Rosal, Damasus Wong, Rolly Viray and Zaldy Villa.
Meanwhile, Rancho Palos Verdes surged on top of the Sportswriters division after posting 123 points at Binitin for a three-day total of 351.
Overnight leader Veterans Golf Club now trails Rancho by 24 after struggling with just 97, allowing TaoTaomona Guam to inch to within four following a 105-point output.
Veterans has a three-day total of 327.
The Interclub’s Platinum sponsors this year are Primax Broadcasting, RMN and Fox, while major sponsors are BusinessWorld Publishing, Rolls Royce, TV5, Philippine Standard.
Other sponsors include Boeing, Under Armour, Eton Properties and Asia Brewery.