Manila Southwoods roars back, claims 9th Interclub crown

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Manila Southwoods roars back, claims 9th Interclub crown

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Southwoods battled back from a five-point deficit with a strong start then concluded with a stronger finish for 111 points, fashioning out an imposing 13-point triumph over Eastridge in the PAL Interclub Men’s regular tournament at the Pueblo de Oro Golf and Country Club in Cagayan de Oro City Monday.

Youthful Shinichi Suzuki played a pivotal role, utilizing his impressive length and all-around skills to achieve a personal-best 42 points, equivalent to six-under par 66 in stroke play. Masaichi Otake and Miko Granada provided solid support with 36 and 33 points, respectively.

The Carmona-based squad thus assembled a four-day total of 429, outclassing Eastridge, which struggled with 93 points, resulting in a final output of 416.

Despite a confident start by the team from Binangonan, which entered the final round with a five-point lead, it couldn’t match Southwoods’ explosive start with the latter maintaining its momentum and securing the significant victory, leaving its opponents trailing.

Ronel Taga-an and Gary Sales scored 32 and 31 points, respectively, while a 30 from either Jeffren Lumbo or Chris Remata counted for Eastridge, which finished as the runner-up for the second straight year.

Skipper Thirdy Escaño credited the victory to the young players’ stellar performance.

“I have to give it to our young guys for playing well today,” said Escano, whose team’s victory further extended Southwoods’ dominance in the annual championship.

Suzuki, 15, expressed the pressure he felt to deliver and considered his round as one of his best, contributing not only to his individual success but also to the team’s triumph.

“This is one of my best rounds. Not only did I do it for myself but also for the team,” said Suzuki, who also mentioned the motivational speech delivered by the team captain the night before the final round.

The victory marked Southwoods’ ninth championship win, but what made it special was the fact that it was the first time the team came from behind to claim the title.

Escaño emphasized the sweetness of the victory, especially after his wards fell behind by 13 points in the first round.

The team’s comeback was notable, particularly with a 107 at Del Monte in the third round behind Aidric Chan, Lanz Uy and Ryan Monsalve, cutting Eastridge’s lead to five. And Suzuki’s impressive shot on the 18th for his seventh birdie highlighted the team’s determination.

“I wanted to finish in style. I saw the big crowd watching,” said Suzuki, who tapped in for birdie on the 18th off a solid 58-degree wedge shot from 102 yards.

Del Monte, the first-day leader, scored 101 points to finish third at 410 while South Pacific Davao pooled 354 points for fourth.

In other divisions, Cebu Country Club regained the Founders title, beating Del Monte Team 2 by 11 points.

With Bayani Garcia and Jon Joseph Alvarez firing 35 points, CCC closed with 101 points for 391 points. Harvey Sytiongsa was the team’s third scorer with 31 points.

Del Monte drew 35 from Simon Wahing, 33 from Keith Pagalan, and 31 from Mark Ivan Parilla to secure second place with 380, five points ahead of Valley.

Canlubang missed a podium finish by one point with 374 points.

The other division winners were Zamboanga Golf in the Aviator and San Juanico Golf Park & Country Club in the Sportswriters class.

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