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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, March 9, 2018
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Southwoods posts
12-point Interclub lead


Despite its top gun jamming in the back nine, Manila Southwoods yesterday still had too much in its arsenal and opened up a 12-point lead after the first round of the 71st PAL Interclub Regular Men’s Championship at the Marapara layout in Bacolod City.

Taisei Shimizu of Japan took over the spearhead’s role when his fancied countryman Yuto Katsuragawa couldn’t get going, shooting an eagle-spiked three-under-par 68 worth 38 points as Southwoods tallied 140 and threatened to complete its date with history in blowout fashion.

“That was actually our target, to shoot 140, which I knew would give us the lead,” Southwoods’ non-playing skipper Thirdy Escano said after Shimizu completed a routine par 5 on the 600-yard 18th.

Chepe Dulay birdied the closing hole for a 37, the veteran Jun Jun Plana accounted for 34 and Jama Reyes’ 31 counted as the last score for Southwoods after Katsuragawa bogeyed his last five holes and threw away an otherwise good round for a 30.

“We really weren’t mindful of what the other teams were scoring,” Escano added. “I just asked the players for a 140 and they gave me that. We have the same target (in the second round tomorrow) and we’ll see where that takes us.”

Southwoods is seeking to become the first team to win this event three straight years, and the Carmona-based squad’s overpowering opening round performance even with Katsuragawa not counting has certainly given Escano’s players even more confidence.

It was surprising enough that Katsuragawa finished on a limp, but also unexpected was Luisita emerging as the chief threat after Canlubang’s first round team struggled big time to trail by 21 in third spot.

Leandro Bagtas scored a level 36, Dan Cruz and Rodel Mangulabnan accounted for 31 each and Don Petil fired 30 for Luisita, which has also started a grassroots program to be able to contend in this division in the years to come.

The Sugar Barons couldn’t do better than assemble a 119 after their own anchor, many-time national champion Rupert Zaragosa, struggled to post 29. Lester Lagman had 31 points and Gido Mandanas 30 to make for the bulk of the Canlubang score.

Action shifts to Binitin in Murcia town for the next two rounds starting today, and Escano bared that at least four of the five players that didn’t open hostilities are set to suit up.

“We have a game plan and there’s no use veering away from that,” he said. “It’s their (second team’s) turn to give us 140 (points).”

Former junior world champ Kristoffer Arevalo and veteran internationalists Aidric Chan, Carl Corpus, Paolo Wong and defending individual champion Tom Kim are still at Escano’s disposal.*


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