by Rey Bancod
CEBU CITY – Cebu Country Club (CCC) capped a remarkable week by winning the 72nd Philippine Airlines (PAL) Interclub golf team championships Saturday at its home course.
The many-time Founders Cup champion held its nerves in the final round, outscoring six-time winner Manila Southwoods, 140-135, to win the annual event by nine points.
It marked the second time in the rich history of Interclub that a team from the Founders division won the overall crown.
All five players delivered for the home team with Bayani Garcia and Julius Pierre Neri carding identical 36 points.
CCC also drew 35 from Mark Dy and 33 from playing captain Marco Sarmiento. Harvey Sytiongsa returned with 32 but did not count.
“Even with the four-point lead, we were not expecting to win,” said Sarmiento. “We just told them to have fun and I think this worked in our favor.”
Sarmiento said they didn’t bother to keep track on the scores and had no inkling what was going on in the course.
“Up to the last minute, we were not aware of the situation,” Sarmiento said.
An ominous sign that Southwoods was in trouble was the presence of non-playing captain Thirdy Escano at the clubhouse, long before the first flight holed out in the 18th.
By that time, Escano probably knew it was a lost cause.
“They (CCC) came well prepared and deserved to win,” said Escano, who curiously was a member of the Aguinaldo team that first pulled the trick in 1988 while campaigning in Founders.
Japanese Yuto Katsuragawa led Southwoods with 38 points despite a final hole bogey. Chepe Dulay fired 34 and Carl Corpus 32. The 31 from either Kristoffer Arevalo and Josh Jorge counted.
Luisita finished third with 490, Del Monte fourth with 479 and Tagaytay Highlands fifth with 464.
While Southwoods is expected to keep most of its players for next year’s edition, CCC will stick to what it has been doing in the last three years.
“We will continue to hold qualifying to give other club members a chance to play in the Interclub,” said Sarmiento. “There will be no exception.”
CCC’s victory allowed Orchard to capture the Founders division with 482, 24 points clear of Forest Hills.
Orchard was led by Zachary Castro’s 35 and Matthew Macalaguim’s 34.
This year’s Interclub is sponsored by Radio Mindanao Network, Asian Air Safari, and Vanguard Radio Network. Also extending support are ABS-CBN Global Ltd. (The Filipino Channel), Rolls Royce, Primax Broadcasting Network, UM Broadcasting Network (Mindanao), Fox Sports, Cignal TV, GECAS, Boeing, Lufthansa Technik AG, Manila Standard, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, Dusit Thani Manila, and Casino Filipino. Official hotel is Quest Hotel Conference Center Cebu.