North made a late charge in the afternoon foursomes, winning the last two matches to salvage a 2-2 draw and force a 4-4 standoff with South in a thrilling start in The Duel at Alabang Country Club on Wednesday.
Randy Garalde and James Ryan Lam took three of last four holes and went from 1-down to 2-up against Zanie Boy Gialon Gialon and Elmer Saban while Carl Santos-Ocampo and Edward Reyes won No. 15 to eke out a 1-up victory over Ferdie Aunzo and Jay Bayron as the Northerners battled from two matches down to force a draw in the alternate shot format event.
It was the same ending in the morning Fourball clash, 2-2, making today’s matches—also beginning with the best-ball in the morning and alternate shot in the afternoon—crucial for both teams for the lead and momentum they need for tomorrow’s singles matches.
Tony Lascuña and Clyde Mondilla stood at the forefront of South’s opening day charge, scoring 1.5 points in the day, including an imposing 3&2 romp over Michael Bibat and Jun Bernis in Foursomes.
Jhonnel Ababa and last year’s winning team captain Charles Hong also humbled the fancied North pair of Angelo Que and Miguel Tabuena, 4&3, to give the defending champions a 2-0 lead until the Garalde-Lam and Ocampo-Reyes pairs charged back to post a pair of come-from-behind victories.
The unfancied Garalde and Lam capped North’s fiery windup by winning the last two holes with Lam banging a four-footer for birdie to anchor the 2-up victory in the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services Inc.
“We got two matches and it’s okay. We’ll try our best again tomorrow,” said South coach Jerome Delariarte, who is likely to stick it out with the Lascuna-Mondilla pair, along with Juvic Pagunsan-Rufino Bayron and Jay Bayron-Ferdie Aunzo, in today’s resumption of the regional showdown organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“Like what I’ve said, both teams are evenly matched. Games are going to be this close,” said Que, bidding to steer the North team to victory and avenge their setback in last year’s inaugurals of the event which pits the leading players from Luzon against those from the Visayas-Mindanao regions.
In the morning Fourball, Pagunsan and Rufino Bayron clobbered Tabuena and Reyes, 4&3, but Bibat and Gerald Rosales nipped Marvin Duman-dan and Zanie Boy Gialon, 1-up, to split the first two matches in the event backed by KIA, Ping, Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers, Mizuno, Pacsports, Callaway, Cleveland, FootJoy, Srixon, Titleist, Empire Golf and Sports Shop and Sharp.
Que-Pucay and Lascuña-Mondilla fought to an all-square match as did Santos-Ocampo and Lam against Jay Bayron and Aunzo, giving each team 2 points after the morning best-ball duel.
Que and Pucay were up by one after No. 17 but Lascuna and Mondilla birdied the last hole and Que flubbed a 20-footer for the all-square match.