BACOLOD CITY -- As Philippine Airlines (PAL) notched a four-star high grade last February 8, the defending champion Manila Southwoods also went for a four-peat in the championship division of the 71st PAL Interclub Regular Men's Tournament that came to a close here yesterday.
The team accomplished its title-retention bid by sporting a round-high 146 points to exit the Marapara course with an overwhelming 551 points, way ahead of its closest pursuer Luisita Golf and Country Club and Canlubang Golf Team who got 510 and 502, respectively.
Japanese Taisei Shimizu finished in a dominant fashion to pace the Manila squad with 39 points, closely followed by Chepe Dulay's 38, Yuto Katsuragawa's 37 points and Nestor Plana with 32 points.
"Mahimbing yung tulog ko kagabi kasi 20 points ang lamang namin. I knew who I was going to field today. In the first day, I knew by boys would break 140. All I can say is hindi kami lalaban na hindi kami preparado. I don’t know how other teams prepared, that’s beyond my control. Ang sa akin is how we prepared our team. If we played well but we still loose, wala akong magagaawa," Manila Southwoods non-playing captain Thirdy Escano said in an interview with Sun.Star Davao yesterday.
The treacherous course of Bacolod City definitely brought great challenge to the defending champion, but Escano said it was all about how the team adopted to that condition.
"Lahat naman ng teams have the same conditions. If the course is hard for us the course is hard for everybody, it’s just a matter of adjusting,” he said.
According to him, the victory came in through his team’s performance.
He added, “They all delivered. I cannot ask for a better team."
Manila Southwoods was composed of Kristoffer Arevalo, Adric Chan, Carl Corpus, Chepe Dulay, Yuto Katsuragawa, Joo Hyung Kim, Nestor Plana, Jay Mattheiw Reyes, Taisei Shimizu and Luigi Paolo Wong.
On a possible five-peat next year, Escano said they will just take one step at a time but rest assured he will continue to build the Manila Southwoods team. "We'll give it a good fight," he added.
Meanwhile, Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club, Inc. (NOGCCI) leaned on its home court advantage to clinch the Aviotor division title after finishing the four-day action with a total of 441 points.
Occupying the next two places were Sta. Elena with 400 and Sherwood Hills and Golf Club with 392 points.
Davao City-based Rancho Palos Verdes Golf Club, however, placed fourth with 383.
Mactan Island Golf Club, for its part, annexed the Sportswriter division title with a total of 389 points, besting Guinhalaran Golf (372) and Bacolod Golf (355), who placed second and third, respectively.
Over the Binitin course, Forest Hills Golf and Country Club tallied a total of 460 points to rule the Founder’s division over Villamor Airbase Golf Club (454) and Wack Wack (450), who placed second and third, respectively.
The annual golfest was presented by PAL and supported by RMN, Manila Times, Mastercard, The Philippine Manila Standard, Rolls Royce, Bombardier, TV5, Primax, BusinessWorld, Crossover and Fox, Boeing, PAGCOR, Belmonte Hotel, Eton Properties and Asia Brewery Inc.