BAYANI Garcia saved the day for Cebu Country Club in the Founders Division, while Mactan Island Golf and Country Club and Club Filipino shot their way into contention in the Sportswriters Division after the first round of the men’s regular tournament of the PAL Interclub in Bacolod City.
CCC finished the day with 108 points, good for third place. The multiple-time Founders Division champion is two points off Villamor and nine off leader Forrest Hills going into the second day.
Garcia led 108-point charge in windy Binitin with 32 points, while Eric Deen had 27. Reigning Philippine Amateur Open champion Peter Tyler Po III had a quiet 26 and Marc Gonzalez scored 23. Jufil Sato’s 22 wasn’t counted.
“Considering we didn’t play too good, being nine points down is still very manageable. Bayani’s 32 really lifted the team,” said veteran Marko Sarmiento, who will play for the first time today at the Negros Occidental Golf Course together with Martin Mendoza, Gio Gandionco and Harvey Sytiongsa.
Po was expected to provide the points in the first round but he struggled in the front nine before recovering in his last nine holes.
“Historically, we’ve always struggled in Binitin but we always recover in Marapara. Hopefully, that trends continue today and we can make some ground,” said Sarmiento.
Mark Dy, another veteran and a former professional golfer, will see action in the final two rounds.
Meanwhile, two Cebu teams are in contention after the first day of the Sportswriters Division at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club.
Mactan Island Golf and Country Club opened with an 88 in the first day, just one point behind early leader Guinhalaran, while two-time champion Club Filipino de Cebu finished with an 80 to remain within striking distance.
Alfredo Cavajar paced Mactan Island with 24, while Armand Guangko had 23. Elvis Jequinto scored 22 and Gerardo Jamorabo had 19.
“Despite the conditions, we did respectably OK,” said Guangko. “We were hoping to score at least 100 but the playing conditions were bad. It was very hot, very windy, the greens were so fast and the fairways were very dry, kusog kayo ang roll sa bola. And of course, there’s also the pressure from tournament conditions, but overall, we did OK.” It was a hot 33 degrees in Bacolod with a Heat Index of 37. The same conditions are expected today.
Guangkco will play his second straight round today in Binitin, while Nicolas Parilla, Pio Barandog Jr., Eddie Benigay and Victor Radaza will play for the first time.
Meanwhile, cousins Jovi Neri and Raymond Alvin Garcia led Club Filipino with 28 and 23 points, respectively and Razi Razon had 18, while David Paul Jarman had 11 points. Club Filipino trails Filam Fairfield (82), Melbourne Golf (85) and Tagaytay Midlands (86).
“We are not that happy with the scores because we felt we could have done better. Today was one of our stronger teams,” said Neri, who played for CCC in previous tournaments.
Neri will play his final round today at Binitin along with Jarman, Razon, Evans Tumaliwan and Paolo Alberto.
Garcia was supposed to play today but he had to rush back to Cebu City to join an important Cebu City Council meeting.
“That will turn out well for us because it means he will play in the final round at Marapara (same course as the first round,” Neri said. “I wasn’t able to practice at Binitin but my teammates had a good practice round there. If we can match their scores during their practice round, we are confident we can make up for the deficit.” Meanwhile, Alta Vista Golf and Country Club scored 84 in the first day, 21 points off the leader.
Gabriel Yap posted the best score of 28, Jerry Paul Uyheng had 21, Baltaire Balanguan had 19 and Taejung Yun had 16. AVGCC, whose Senior team won the Division a week ago, trails Negros Occidental GCC (105), Sherwood Hills (102), Lumbia Golf (95), Ranchos Palos (93) and Sta. Elena (88). However, the standings could still change as the scores of some of the teams were still being tabulated at press time. (ML)