DAVAO: Letting it all hang out in the penultimate round on Friday, Manila Southwoods put on a record-breaking performance in the 70th Philippine Airlines (PAL) Interclub and all but completed the club’s first hat trick in the Men’s Championship division.
The Carmona-based squad’s youthful brigade practically turned the well-manicured Rancho Palos Verdes here into their playground, shooting the lights out with a mind-boggling 156 points to leave archrival and the rest of the field eating their dust.
Japanese teenager Yuto Katsuragawa fired a tournament-best six-under-par 66 worth 42 points, Liam Cully and Carl Corpus assembled 38s and either of Aidric Chan and Jama Reyes’ 37s counted as Southwoods now has a 427 total, 38 points ahead of the Sugar Barons.
No team in memory has ever come up with all five players cracking par and a team throwing one such card away, and that has practically made today’s final round the team’s victory march at Apo Golf with Canlubang needing nothing less than a miracle to pull this one out of the fire.
“There’s still one round left to be played, but now I am confident of our chances,” said Southwoods non-playing skipper Thirdy Escano. “Yes, I don’t recall anything like this happening before. This (third round gambit) worked out better than I planned.”
Katsuragawa, the club’s reigning champion, opened up with three straight birdies and never looked back, going bogey-free in a 32-34 card that was a fitting follow-up to a 72 churned out just a day back.
All told, Escano’s boys for the third round drained a total of 14 birdies with Reyes responsible for an eagle on No. 8, a right-bending par-5 with a very small green as a target.
Jolo Magcalayo fired 41 points but got very little help from his support cast with only Luis Castro coming close to matching par with 35 and Canlubang counting the 29 of JP De Claro and either 26 of Jakey Yulo or Fernando Zaldarriaga for 131 and 389 overall.
After triumphing in Cebu in 2015 and at Mimosa in Clark Field last year, Southwoods will complete its first “three-peat” and will join an elite list of such champions in what is considered as the country’s unofficial team golf championship.
Senior standout Eddie Bagtas matched par for 36 points and Dan Cruz fired 33 to lead Luisita to a 129 that had it regaining third place from Del Monte with a 361 tally, 12 points ahead of the Bukidnon-based bets.
Del Monte, which is using products of its grassroots development program, managed just 115 points led by Julius Bautista’s 31.
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.
A total of 83 teams are entered in the four-day, five-division event, which ends Saturday.