TWELVE-YEAR-OLD Ruperto Zaragoza III sparkled with 35 points, or one-over-par 71 in stroke play, to match Jessie Balasabas’ output at the par-70 Binitin course in Murcia.

This as Canlubang Sugar Barons amassed a total of 403 points and regained the lead with only a round left in the 663rd Philippine Airlines (PAL) Men’s event.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 27, 2010.

The Sugar Barons shoot a total of 137 points Friday and turn a two-point deficit into a commanding 11-point advantage over closest rival The County Club (TCC).

Alongside the sixth grader Zaragoza were Art Arbole who scored 34 and Jhonnel Ababa had 33 to complete the Canlubang scoring.

TCC, two points up after two rounds, only fired 124—their lowest output in the tournament—to accumulate 392 and look headed for another disaster down the stretch.

The Country Club led after the first round when it debuted in the Interclub in Davao City last year but faltered in the succeeding rounds to allow Canlubang to register its fifth straight crown and 16th overall.

While Canlubang was having a fine day with Zaragoza and Balasabas leading the charge, TCC sputtered with only Zanie Boy Gialon turning in a superb round of 37 points, or one-under-par in stroke play.

Carl Santos-Ocampo added 34 but Edwin Madrelino could do no better than 28. The other score will be either that of Dante Beciera or Alexes Nallos’ 25.

Meanwhile, Davao City Golf Club scored 90 points on the third day for a total of 281 and seven points up on second-running Bacolod Golf and Country Club in the Friendship division.

Diemy Monedero and Benhur Villarosa each turned in 25 points, while Willy de Leon and Marlon Aranas added 23 and 17, respectively, for Davao with only a day left in the battle for golf supremacy.

Bacolod, the hometown bet, failed to capitalize on its familiarity with the course as it managed only 89 in the penultimate round to stay further behind at 274.

Fil-Am Hawaii carded 81 to stay at third place with 268.

Davao occupied third spot in the standings after the opening round Wednesday but shot 99 points Thursday to grab a six-point lead over Bacolod.

It was Villarosa who led the second-day charge for Davao by scoring 29 points, with Aranas making 27, Monedero scoring 23 and De Leon hitting 20.

And with Bay Area bowing out of contention after a miserable round of 62 for 247, the battle for the Friendship is now among Davao , Bacolod and Fil-Am Hawaii. (CRAM of Sun.Star Davao)