Manila Southwoods got another solid performance from what is seen by many as its second unit on Friday and seized a one-point lead over Canlubang going into the final round of the 69th PAL Interclub Men’s championship.
Jets Sajulga, a recruit from Bukidnon, fired a one-under-par 71 worth 37 points, and young Ira Alido matched par for 36 to boost the defending champions to a third day 136 for 411 to break free from a tie contest with the Sugar Barons at the start of the day at the Acacia Lakeview course of Mimosa Golf & Country Club in Clark, Pampanga.
Ryan Monsalve fired 32 and the veteran Vince Lauron settled for a 31 after dropping five strokes in his last four holes as the Carmona-based squad threw away the 29 of Brixton Aw to stay firmly in place for a first-ever repeat in what is regarded as the country’s unofficial team golf championship.
Cangolf, like Southwoods, fielded the same fives they had in the second round and the Sugar Barons totaled 135 with many-time national champion Rupert Zaragosa contributing 38, Luigi Castro and Carlo Villaroman shooting 33s and Marco Olives chipping in with 31.
“Canlubang will always be a tough team to contend with,” said Thirdy Escano, now the non-playing captain of Southwoods who was in two previous squads that was denied to repeating as champions in the past.
“My team tomorrow is a stronger team, so we are relatively confident going into tomorrow [in the final round],” he said. “But of course, a lot of it will have to do with the experience of Canlubang. That’s the advantage they have.”
Canlubang is also chasing a special achievement with a win, as it will mark a triumphant return to the event while also completing a sweet double after ruling Senior Division action last Sunday against bitter rival Luisita.
Luisita kept its wafer-thin chances of pulling an upset after creeping to within 17 of the pace, tallying a day-best 139 after getting a tournament-best 40 points from jungolfer Dan Cruzand 34s from Luis Guerrero and Tom Kim and either 31s of Jingy Tuason and Basti Lorenzo for 394 overall.
“I am just happy that we were able to catch up,” Canlubang owner Luigi Yulo told reporters, referring to a huge deficit that they were able to chop down in the final holes because of Lauron’s misfortunes. “It will be a very interesting final round.”
Southwoods will field its rock-solid opening round team led by national pool member Justin Quiban and long-hitting Japanese Yuto Katsuragawa, while the Sugar Barons will have a five led by pro-bound Jobim Carlos with support to come from four junior standouts and the veteran Abe Rosal.
Liam Cully and Jay Matthew Reyes fired 34s to lead Orchard’s third round 132 and the 2014 champions are now 13 points out of the third-placed Luisitans.