Team South struck back in two matches behind its two tested campaigners and sustained its edge in the other to seize a 2 1/2-1 1/2 lead over Team North in the fourball format at the start of The Duel 3—North vs. South at the Cebu Country Club in Cebu City on Wednesday.
Tony Lascuña and Clyde Mondilla fought back from one hole down with two birdies in the last three holes to snatch a 1-up win over Angelo Que and Gerald Rosales while Frankie Minoza, in tandem with loca ace Charles Hong, banged in a six-foot uphill birdie putt on the 18th to salvage an all-square match with Carl Santos-Ocampo and James Ryan Lam as South took a 1 1/2-1/2 cushion in the best-ball format kicking off local version’s Ryder Cup.
Cassius Casas and Jhonnel Ababa took control of their duel with Randy Garalde and Benjie Magada early and kept their charge at the back to fashion out a 2&1 victory, giving the Jerome Delariarte-skippered South squad the lead heading to the afternoon foursome, being played at presstime.
Miguel Tabuena and Jun Rates dominated Elmer Salvador and Jessie Balasabas and rolled to a 4&3 romp for Team North’s lone victory.
After yielding two of the first six holes in the first match, South took one hole at the back before Mondilla buried a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 16 to force an all-square match.
Lascuna, the reigning back-to-back ICTSl Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit champion and current leader, then capped South’s come-from-behind win with a birdie from five feet as Que and Rosales flubbed their respective birdie bids to the delight of the gallery and the crowd at the clubhouse.
Despite the setback, North skipper Artemio Murakami remains confident of his wards’ chances to defend the crown they won at Alabang Country Club last year.