THE Cebu Country Club (CCC) grabbed the limelight in the 72nd PAL Interclub with a stunning second round performance that had the Cebuanos matching a feat only done once.
CCC, which is campaigning in the Founders Division, pulled off a shocker in the second round at the Mactan Island Golf when it stole the overall lead over teams from the higher division after compiling 121 for an aggregate score of 245.
CCC has a two-point lead over Del Monte Golf Club (122-121), who’s contending in the Championship Division, in the overall ranking. CCC also has a 14-point edge over The Orchard Golf & Country Club (121-110) in the Founders Division.
According to a press release from organizers, this was only done once before when an Aguinaldo team made up of former Asian Games gold medalist Ramon Brobio, Bong Lopez and Thirdy Escaño won the 1988 edition, also in Cebu, while playing in the Founders Division and eventually beating Canlubang.
CCC, aiming for redemption after missing the top three last year, played its best golf in Round 2 with Martin Mendoza showing the way.
Mendoza accounted for 34 points, Jon Joseph Alvarez added 30, former pro Mark Anthony Dy chipped in 29 and Julius Pierre “Pio” Neri added 28 in the four-to-count team tournament. Hugo Saurat’s 23 points did not count.
“First off, I’d like to thank God for the team’s performance today. We managed to extend our lead (in the Founders Division). Mactan in itself is a short course but is very challenging as the course condition can change mid-round,” Mendoza told SunStar Cebu.
Mendoza scored a two-over-par 74 for 34 points that was spiked by three birdies in hole Nos. 8, 10 and 13.
“The green speeds get slower, fairways can bounce harder, wind speeds can pick up, but even the heat can play a factor. So thankfully, despite all that, our team still managed to put up a decent score,” added Mendoza.
CCC’s team captain and PAL Interclub veteran Marko Sarmiento said that the team hit the target score for the second round.
“Our target was to hit 120 points a day in Mactan and we exceeded that today, so anything around that number tomorrow (Friday) will be good. Conditions will be tougher though since tee times will be later. It will be hot and windier but I’m confident the boys will play well,” said Sarmiento.
This development will now have CCC and Orchard, which is running second in the Founders with 231 points, joining the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the Championship in the pairings in the third round on Friday, March 8.
With the things going well for CCC, which is seeking redemption after missing the top three last year, it’s all about sticking to their game plan for the last two rounds of the annual tournament.
“We just need to stick to our game plan. Our daily meetings help keep us in check, making adjustments to the lineup if need be, and along with making sure everyone assigned to play next day feels confident,” said Mendoza.
The team will field JJ Alvarez, Martin Mendoza, Marc Gonzalez, Eric Deen and Bayani Garcia in Round 3 also at the Mactan Island Golf Club.
Meanwhile, another Cebu-based team, Mactan Island Club, made waves as they paced the Sportswriters Division with 172 (92-89) followed by Camp John Hay 170 (81-89) and Fil Am Fairfield 165 (79-86). (RSC)