CEBU—Scoring a day-best 140 points playing in the lower Founders Division, Cebu Country Club (CC) on Thursday muddled up the overall race in the Philippine Airlines Interclub championship by taking a two-point lead over Canlubang.
With Jufil Sato shooting a four-over-par 76 worth 50 points and ex-pro Carl Almario marking his debut in the ranks with 49, Cebu CC took control of the centerpiece championship without actually knowing it as the defending champion Sugar Barons struggled with a 133 at Club Filipino in Danao.
That means that Cebu CC will now be paired with teams that started the tournament in the Championship Division, joining Cangolf, Luisita and Manila Southwoods starting with the third round on Friday also in Danao.
Luisita struggled with 137 to be another five points behind, with Southwoods gaining a lot of ground despite sitting out what many feels is its A-Team for the second straight round, a 139 leaving the Carmona-based bets just eight points off the pace.
Zaldy Villa had 48 points and Rene Unson 44 to lead Cangolf, which was forced to make Tony Olives play after Tommy Manotoc left for home in a hurry hours before round one teeoff on Wednesday to attend to a family emergency.
“We didn’t play well, that’s for sure,” Luisita nonplaying captain Jeric Hechanova said. “It’s become a four-way race with Tommy out [for Cangolf], and Cebu CC has joined the mix.”
“The way I see it, with Cebu having local knowledge, that team may be the favorites,” Hechanova said.
Southwoods is also a dangerous team with Jun Jun Plana, Theody Pascual, Joseph Tambunting and Thirdy Escaño all playing the final two rounds, giving the team one of the most solid squads out there, especially at Alta Vista where the final round will be held on Saturday.
“We did not expect to be contending for the overall title although we practiced hard as a team in the last two weeks,” Almario said. “It would be quite a feat but our focus remains on the Founders division. We only have four strong players in the squad.”
Cebu CC, should it not win the overall title, has more or less bagged the Founders with a 23-point lead over Riviera, which is now locked in a fierce fight with Orchard for what could turn out to be a title race for them if the Cebuanos manage to go all the way.
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