BACOLOD—Performing a tad better under demanding conditions on Wednesday, title favorite Manila Southwoods did just well enough to keep its head above water after the opening round of the 73rd PAL Interclub.
Pro-bound Japanese Aguri Iwasaki was the only player to crack par, returning a one-under 70 for 37 points to lead Southwoods’ opening 122 for a shaky five-point lead over Luisita as treacherous Marapara here bared its fangs and bedeviled the talented Championship division field.
“Considering how conditions were, I think we played well enough. We’re happy with how things turned out,” Southwoods golf manager Jerome Delariarte said. “It was tough out there and we played pretty well.”
Luigi Guerrero accounted for 33 and Dan Cruz 31 to lead Luisita, which came to this tournament with products of its grassroots program hoping to “spring a surprise,” and could very well be on its way.
“This is the first time [in years] that we have come within five points of that team,” nonplaying skipper Jeric Hechanova said. “We will just try to keep playing our best and, who knows?”
Championship division action shifts for two straight days to Binitin in Murcia town where defending titlist Cebu Country Club, playing in the lower Founders bracket, pooled 116 points to trail the overall pace by six.
Cebu CC took the same path in winning last year on home soil, and pulling it off again here would make the squad the only team to do that twice. Aguinaldo first did it in 1988.
Yuto Katsuragawa struggled on the slippery greens and holed out with a bogey on the 18th for 30 points, with Josh Jorge shooting 28 and the veteran Vince Lauron 27 to complete scoring for Southwoods, which discarded the 15 of Santino Laurel.
Luisita would have started the second round just three points down had it not been for a two-point penalty slapped on Ronel Tagaan, who holed out for a double bogey on the 17th to finish with 27. Jhondie Quibol was the third-best scorer with 28.
Forest Hills was the Founders division leader with 118, after Iñigo Raymundo shot 31 and Raffy Garcia 30.
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