Mla S’woods opens Fil Champ Title retention bid with five point lead over San Mig
By Sam D. Bautista

BAGUIO CITY — It’s a five shot lead for Manila Southwoods in both Fil and Am championship games at the start of the premiere flight in the 66th Fil-Am Golf Invitational by San Miguel at the Baguio Country Club and Camp John Hay courses, yesterday, December 1.

Kristoffer Arevalo led the charge of the Carmona, Cavite based parbusters as he turned in 33 points for the team’s 127 and a five shot advantage over San Miguel – Northern Cement to start their Fil Championship title retention bid.

Defending individual champion Justin Quiban and Yuto Katsuragawa made 32 each and Ryan Monsalve counted for Southwoods with a 30.

Chepe Dulay did not count with his 29 in the five to play four to count event backed by Toyota.

San Miguel got a pair of 33s from Rupert Zaragoza and Lanz Uy even as Jelbert Gamolo and John Philip Claro added 29 and 27, respectively for the team’s 122.

Meynard Ko did not count with his 23.

Guamanians Che’Lus was at a surprise third spot after making 116 built around the 31 of Louie Sunga, the 29 of Ray Blas, and the pair of 28s from Mike Castro and Daryl Poe.

Luisita Golf, which returns to the Fil-Am after 20 years, and Royal Northwoods were tied at fourth with 112.

Jobim Carlos, winner of the Philippine Amateur Stroke Play by beating Zaragoza and Canlubang Amateur Open champion, had the day’s performance of 34, a two over at the very difficult BCC course.

Forest Hills, Mizuno Evercode and Surigao occupy the last three spots with 110, 107 and 106, respectively.

“We came here (to the Fil-Am) with a balanced team and we thank the Southwoods board for its full support to our boys who all have the potential,” said team captain Thirdy Escaño, who saw his teams lead by five.

Escaño is also referring to the Am Championship team which leads Batangas Barakos by five after shooting 135.

Veteran Jun jun Plana made the tournament best seven under 62 for 43, while Ira Alido had a 35, Ivan Monsalve and Jordan Mamaril shot 29 and 28, respectively to count for Southwoods Am team.

Batangas had an even par 36 from Gary Sales, while Ricky delos Santos, Gerald Katigbak and Jose Iñigo counted 34, 31 and 29, respectively.

Mizuno Evercode and Valley Golf are tied at third with 129.

Escaño said that the boys should play their game, stay focused “because anything can happen especially at a course like the BCC.”

“This is a very tough competition, the toughest in years and we have here the best Philippine amateur players and we are lucky to have some of these boys, who are the future of national golf,” observed Escaño San Miguel remains unfazed despite the five shot lead of the eight time champion.

“It’s a long long tournament. We still have 54 holes,” said team manager Bobby Iñigo who added that it will be a good fight between his team and the defending champion.

Jerich Hechanova said that he just wants more exposure for his young Luisita team which parades players as young as 13 and as “old” as 17 years of age.

“This is a very very young team. A podium finish is already good for us,” said Hechanova whose team is tied at fourth spot.

“Laro na lang, because we face really good teams,” said former Tourism secretary Ace barbers, who youngest player from Dubai, Kumar Aryaan, made 24 but still enjoyed playing at the BCC course.

Meanwhile, Camp John Hay starts to pull away from co-host BCC and the rest of the field in Fil-B competition as it scored 104 points yesterday and 205 total for a 10 point lead.

Fred Puckett submitted 29 points to pace the team, while Monet Garcia and Shean Bedi made similar 26 and Pol Mayos added 23 to count.

BCC had 27 from Euls Austin, while Goodie Ignacio, Jjef Razon and Bong Mandapat had 26, 22 and 21 to count for the team’s 96 and 195, three off Che’Lus I and San Miguel which 94 and 98, respectively for 192 and third spot.

Noel Biliran and Antonio Bautista fired a pair of 31s as Aguinaldo made a flight best 108 for a 211 total to wrest the lead from first round leader Subic gas which limped with 88 for a 202 total.

TGIS fired a 97 and 200 total to take third spot.

Ceasar Valencirina made 26 and lead Fil-Am Seattle to 80 points for 157 and still holds a six shot lead in on Team Surigao II which made a similar score of 80 in Fil-F competition. ICSI/PI tallied 70 for 136 and third spot.

Uragun Golf A fired another 77 and 154 tally to wrest the lead in Am-E from Macquarie Links Team which made 71 and 151.

Che’lus made the best flight score of 80 and move up to third from fourth with 149. Sam D. Bautista/PNA