DAVAO CITY: Fifteen-time champion Luisita Golf Club got a big lift from two new recruits to take a slim two-point lead over Del Monte Golf Club at the start of the 31stPhilippine Airlines Senior Interclub golf team championships.
Rodel Mangulabnan made an auspicious seniors debut for Luisita with 50 points, one of only three players who scored in the fifties at the Apo Golf and Country Club.
Mangulabnan, who just turned 55, made two birdies against six bogeys.
Chito Laureta, another fresh addition, added 48 and Jingy Tuason chipped in 47 as Luisita pooled 145 points. Allan Alegre did not count with 45 points.
“We kind of expected to lead, but we didn’t expect the high scores,” said Luisita non-playing captain Jeric Hechanova, noting that players were allowed to lift and clean their balls.
Del Monte, made up of former pros and caddies, emerged as a serious contender, scoring 143 points behind Archie Mondilla’s 50 points.
Mondilla is the father of pro Clyde Mondilla.
The Bukidnon-based squad also drew 48 points from last year’s individual champion Virgilio Adag and 45 from Ernesto Apas. Romeo Bautista failed to count with 39.
A huge disappointment was defending champion Canlubang which skidded to fourth place with 124, 21 points behind Luisita.
Eagle Ridge, getting 51 points from Korean Tong Wha Lee, took third spot with 131. Other scorers were Koreans Jie Sik Oh (41) and Seong Song (39).
Despite the heavy deficit, Canlubang skipper Tony OIives is not about to throw in the towel.
“There are plenty of golf to be played, but we need to start reducing the leadtomorrow at Rancho Palos Verdes,” said Olives.
In what could go down to be its worst opening round, Canlubang got 43 from Damas Wong, 41 from Dave Hernandez and 40 from Mari Hechanova.
“It was a humbling experience,” said many-time Spanish champion Mike Preysler who did not count for Canlubang with 35 points.
The 70th PAL Interclub Platinum sponsors are Mareco Broadcasting Network, A&E Networks Asia, RMN Networks, The Manila Standard, Fox Networks Group, Rolls-Royce, TV5, MasterCard, TFC and Business Mirror.
Major sponsors include Asian Air Safari, Airbus, Primax Broadcasting Network and Sabre Airline Solutions while Corporate sponsors are Baron Travel Corporation, Boeing, MX3, GE Aviation, Bombo Radyo Philippines, Asia Brewery, Tanduay Distillers, Sabre Airline Solutions and Tourism Promotions Board.
The donors are Shangri-La at The Fort, Trinity Insurance and Eton Properties.