CEBU CITY: Newcomer Pradera Verde Golf Club has all but wrapped up the 12th Philippine Airlines Ladies Interclub golf team championships with one round to go following another explosive performance at the Cebu Country Club Thursday.
After posting 167 and 166 points in the first two rounds, Pradera cooled off with 158, but still built an insurmountable 46-point lead over Manila Southwoods Masters, winner of this event the last six years.
Fil-Japanese Yuka Saso shot the day’s only sub-par round, a two-under par 70, to anchor the all-teen Lubao-based squad.
That was worth 56 points in the Molave scoring system, assuring the 18-year-old long hitter the individual title. She scored 59 points in the opening round.
Nicole Abelar backed up Saso with 53 points while Michela Effendie rounded out scoring with 49.
Annyka Pineda Cayabyab, the youngest member of the team at 13, did not count with 48.
Pradera’s domination signalled a shift in the balance of power and the rise of the brat pack.
“This is good for the event and the sport in general,” said Southwoods coach Bong Lopez, whose team lost a number of key players who have turned professional.
Lopez noted the rise of young golfers.
“Although we would have been happy winning our seventh title, this can only mean that we have to prepare hard for next year’s tournament,” Lopez said. “But it would probably take us three years to contend against Pradera.”
Southwoods collected 146 points with Sunshine Baraquiel pacing the team with 50 points. Other scorers were Loralie Roberto and Samantha Dizon with 48 points apiece. Samantha Bruce did not count with Samantha Bruce.
With Pradera virtually settling the matter in the championship division, attention now shifts to the battles in the three other divisions.
Manila Southwoods Legends seized the lead in the Founders division after scoring 130 points that brought its total to 383, six points ahead of Alabang.
Maria Singson led Legends with 48 followed by Laurea Duque 44 and Yong Mi Kim 38.
Alabang posted 122 behind Jona Magcalayo 46, Finina Gorres 39 and Eun Sil Jang 37.
A far third was Negros Occidental Team A with 369 points after scoring 135 in the third round.
The battle in the Sportswriters division is expected to go down on the last putt.
Only three points separate defending champion Eagleridge, Sta. Elena and Camp Aguinaldo Team A going into the final round.
Eagleridge, riding on Soon Hak Jung’s 45 points, scored a division-best 120 points to seize the lead with 337, two points clear of Sta. Elena and three ahead of overnight leader Aguinaldo.
Sta. Elena also collected 45 points from Maria Therese Dabao to end the day with 115 points while Aguinaldo struggled with just 108 points.
In the Friendship class, Wack Wack retained a 24-point lead over Iloilo despite a measly 94 points.
Iloilo rallied with 104 points for 299 while Manila Golf took third spot with 283.