BACOLOD. — Fancied Manila Southwoods held sway on a day of survival at unforgiving Marapara on Wednesday, scoring 122 points to take a five-point lead over Luisita after 18 holes of the 73rd Philippine Airlines Men’s Interclub here.
Aguri Iwasaki, a Japanese set to make his pro debut in the Asian Development Tour next month, was the only player in the talented field to break par, shooting a one-under 70 worth 37 points to anchor the Carmona-based squad even as defending champion Cebu CC struggled over at Binitin in Murcia town while playing in the Founders Division.
Yuto Katsuragawa closed out with an uncharacteristic bogey 6 and signed for 30 points, with young Josh Jorge shooting 28 and Vince Lauron, the comebacking veteran, chipping in 27 to round out scoring for Southwoods, which threw away the 21 of Santino Laurel.
Luigi Guerrero fired 33 points, Dan Cruz had 31, Jondie Quibol 28 and Ronel Tagaan 27 for the 117 of Luisita, which lost two points on a penalty after Tagaan was penalized for holing out for a double bogey on the par-4 17th.
“We’re happy with how things turned out, considering how tough the conditions were,” SW team official Jerome Delariarte said. “It was very difficult out there and our players performed well enough to put the team in the lead.”
Mark Dy and Jon Alvarez accounted for 31 points each, Marco Mendoza fired 29 and Cebu counted the 21 of Martin Mendoza to trail the Championship division pace by six.
Cebu won the overall title last year by coming from the lower division, and pulling off that feat once again here would make the club the only team to do it twice. Aguinaldo was the first to achieve it in 1988.
Del Monte trailed Southwoods by 16 points heading into Day 2 at Binitin after Rolando Bregente, who scored 31, failed to get enough support with Julius Langamin and Rene Langamin shooting 26s and Joel Bernaldez 23.
“I think that this is the first time that we’ve come within five points of Southwoods,” Luisita non-playing captain Jeric Hechanova said. “Considering that our top three players didn’t score that much, we’re OK with how (the first round) turned out.”
Hosted by Philippine Airlines, the international event is backed by platinum sponsors Asian Air Safari, Vanguard Radio Network, Fox Networks Group, Radio Mindanao Network, Inc., Asian Journal Publications Philippines, Inc., Auto Nation Group, Inc. (Mercedes Benz), and SMDC.