North sustained its form in team play and knocked down South in foursomes, 4-2, on Thursday as it moved five singles wins away from wresting The Duel – North vs South crown at the Camp John Hay Golf Club in Baguio.
Mars Pucay and Ira Alido followed up their 5&4 rout of brothers Jay and Rufino Bayron in four-ball Wednesday with a 1-up victory over Jhonnel Ababa and Zanieboy Gialon while Miguel Tabuena and new partner Joenard Rates likewise went 2-for-2 with an emphatic 6&5 victory over Rufino Bayron and Orlan Sumcad to lead the Northerners’ second day romp in the country’s version of the Ryder Cup sponsored by ICTSI.
The two teams then traded a pair of 5&4 routs in the last four pairings in the alternate shot format event as Team North, which took the better-ball, 3 1/2-2 1/2, seized a 7 1/2-4 1/2 lead heading to the deciding 12 singles matches today.
This time, the top guns from Luzon vowed to atone for their final day meltdown and complete what they had failed to do in 2015 at Wack Wack.
North led, 8 1/2 -3 1/2, in the fourth edition of the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. but South rallied and won nine out of 12 singles to steal the crown and complete a back-to-back victory.
“I trust my players and we had learned our lesson from our last experience. We need only to win five matches so we’ll try to finish them off early,” said North skipper Artemio Murakami.
To underscore their bid, Murakami is fielding in Tabuena against Sumcad in the first singles match at 7 a.m. today with rookie Alido mixing it up with veteran Mhark Fernando next even as Rates goes for a sweep of his three matches against Ababa.
Gerald Rosales and Elmer Salvador will clash next, followed by Keanu Jahns-Tony
Lascuña, Justin Quiban-Jerson Balasabas, Randy Garalde- Gialon, James Ryan Lam-Clyde Mondilla, Michael Bibat-Rufino Bayron, Pucay-Cassius Casas, Benjie Magada-Rene Menor, and Jobim Carlos-Jay Bayron face-offs.
“Don’t be surprised if we win again as we did the last time out,” said Team South captain Charles Hong. “With my players, I don’t need to motivate them since they are already motivated and talented. We know we can win this again.