Bacolod City – Canlubang held off Luisita’s searing comeback to hang on to a four-point lead halfway through the 34th Philippine Airlines Senior Interclub golf team championships.
Rolly Viray and Rene Unson scored 49 and 48 points, respectively while Abe Avena added 45 as Canlubang collected 142 at the Bacolod Golf Club for 281.
Viray was even through 10 holes before making double bogey on The 11th hole and three bogeys in the next five. He closed out with a birdie and a bogey.
Unson, a last-minute replacement, parred the last six holes to deliver in the final foursome.
“Whenever you’re ahead, you should be happy,” said Canlubang captain Tony Olives. “It’s been a long time since we led in the first two rounds.”
Canlubang actually led by 14 points counting all players at the turn, but Luisita mounted a fierce rally that nearly turned the tide.
Benjie Sumulong, trounced by Viray by nine points in the front nine, came alive in the back nine with three birdies to salvage 46 points.
“I was 10-over in the front nine because of bad breaks. So I told myself I might as well start attacking the pins,” said Sumulong who went two-under at the back after making the turn at 10-over.
Raffy Garcia was Luisita’s top scorer with 50 points, capped by an even-par finish in the final nine holes.
Rodel Mangulabnan rounded out Luisita’s scoring with 42.
“We rose from the dead,” said a relieved Jeric Hechanova who paid tribute to his players for not giving up.
Negros Occidental and Cebu Country Club, the other teams in the championship division, lagged behind with 271 and 266 points, respectively.
Scoring for Negros were Jimmy Yusay (47), Chris Infante (45) and Stephen Paduano (44) while CCC drew 51 from Eric Deen, 46 from Kwang Seok Kim and 44 from Carl Almario.
CCC, however, lost a player to injury.
Nonoy Tirol injured his right leg while climbing out of the bunker on the eighth hole.
Amid the Canlubang-Luisita fight, a third force looms from the Founders division.
Del Monte collected 141 points to improve to 275, just six points behind Canlubang.
Arsenio Mondilla scored 48, Ramon Velez chipped in 47 and Virgilio Adag added 46 for Del Monte which enjoys an eight-point lead over Eagle Ridge.
Danilo Cruz and Tony Mendoza starred for Eagle Ridge with 53 and 50, respectively with Avelino Beltran completing scoring with 34.
Orchard was third with 257 after posting 125.
Hosted by Philippine Airlines, the international event has as 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.
Major sponsors include The Boeing Company, University of Mindanao Broadcasting Network, Avolon Aerospace Singapore Pte Ltd, Manila Broadcasting Company, Primax Broadcasting, Rolls-Royce Singapore Pte Ltd, CIGNAL TV Inc., Travellers International Hotel Group Inc. (Resorts World), and Airbus.
Other supporters are Uniglobe Travelware Co., Inc. (The Travel Club), Philippine Manila Standard Publishing Inc. (Manila Standard), Officine Corporation, GE Aviation, SEDA Hotels, BDO Unibank, Smart Communications, Inc., People Asia Magazine, A+E Networks Asia (History), Allianz PNB Life, Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Tanduay Brands, Rockwell Land Corporation, Petron Corporation, Splash Corporation, AB Heineken Philippines Inc., and Asia Brewery Inc. – Summit.