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S’woods holds 4-point Fil Champ lead as Fil-Am returns inside bubble

TOP GUNS. The top guns of the two contending teams in the Fil Championship Ryan Monsalve (left) of Manila Southwoods who fired 36 points to lead the team to 131 and a four shot lead on Luisita Golf Club which is led by Joaquin Hernandez, who made a tournament high 39 points to power the team to 127. Some 288 players from 56 teams see action in the four-day tournament. Fil-Am Media Photo

Defending champion Manila Southwoods started its bid for another title as it opened with a four point lead over Luisita Golf and Country Club as action starts in a shortened 71st Fil-Am Golf Invitational Tournament at the Camp John Hay golf course Tuesday.

Ryan Monsalve aced the par 3 13th hole to nullify two pick ups on holes 7 and 14 en route to 36 points and lead the Carmona, Cavite squad to an opening 131 points and a four shot cushion over their rival from Tarlac.

Sean Jean Ramos added 34, Lance Uy chipped in 31 points and Masaichi Otake had to 30 to count for the team in the five to play, four to count event which was suspended last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Josh Jorge had a 27 and did not count for the many time champion which started competing in 1996 and has since then dominated the annual invitational golf tournament that regularly draws 1,500 players but has been cut down to a fifth of that due to the pandemic.

Joaquin Hernandez carried the fight for Luisita after logging the only under par score in the tournament with a three under that is good for 39 points and lead the Tarlac squad with 127 points.

Hernandez had an almost perfect round as he churned in four birdies but marred only with a bogey at the par 4 second.

Jed Dy had 33, while Gabriel Manotoc and Leandro Bagtas counted for the team with 31 and 24, respectively as they go to the next round at the CJH course four down on the defending champion.

Southwoods and Luisita team captains Thirdy Escano and Jerich Hechanova said that their teams did not play according to their expectations due to the long lay-off.

Looking at the scores, the difference between the first and last man is big. Maybe it’s because of the lull. They have not played for almost two years due to the (Covid-19) pandemic,” said Escano.

“The players are very eager and are trying to hard. But then we expect tomorrow (the play) will be back and the players will shoot at least 140 or even more,” Escano added.

Hechanova said that his players suffer from “first tournament jitters, which hopefully will be better by tomorrow.”

But then he said that it is good start and it is expected that their players will not play to their capability but will get better in the next days.

Escano said that the tournament will be won at the shorter Baguio Country Club which will be on Wednesday and Thursday where his players will see action.

“The tournament could be won at the BCC. (The scores will go up there) and four up is very small and of course they will get back since they (Luisita) are only acclimatizing,” he added.

Former Southwoods top man Junjun Plana carded an even par at the BCC which is 36 points and power Time Cargo Logistics to 120 for a three point lead in the Am Championship.

Counting for the team are Gary Sales (30), Joseph Tambunting (29) and Ruel Cabral (25) contributed for the team which got 24 from Rusitco Bayani, Jr.

Alain Strehmeier scored 33 points and lead X1R Mizuno and 117 points to stay within a striking distance of the first round leader.

Gabriel Macalagum, Raymond Co and Brixton Aw counted with 31, 28 and 25 points, in that order.

Forest Hills is another 10 shot down with 107 with Augosto Pacheco and Dennis Nicomedes leading with 29. Jose Inigo Raymundo and Edgar Lee chipped in 25 and 24, respectively.

Summit Point Golf and Country Club and Batangas Barakos have 97 and 91 points, respectively, to stay at fourth and fifth spot.

Tae Hyun Hoo made 32 points and lead CJH to 115 and a four shot lead on Benlife in Regular Fil A, while Srixon IMG is another shot down.

Two local teams equal top billings on the first day of competition in Regular Am A as Baguio Blue Bloods Eagles and Baguio Country Club fired a similar 102. Fourteen points down is A-1 Driving which assembled 84 points.

Club Salami (88), EK Amigos (82) and Mountaineers (71) occupy the top three spot in Fil B.

In Am B, Leopard Enterprise holds a 20 point lead on Miners Golf Team, while Baguio Natives is at third spot with 61.

Square and Compass of Nueva Ecija takes the lead in Fil C with 84, followed by Razcals I which fired 76 points, while Isabel Golf Team is at third with 70.

In Am C, Crown Legacy carries a three point lead on Baguio City Golf Team I.

Crown Legacy opened with a 65 on the 20 of Vincent Balaodan, 17 from Mark Dy, 16 from Francois Miranda and 12 from Ramon Balayodao. Dalmacio Sissiit had a six and did not count.

Baguio councilor Michael Lawana paced Baguio I with 21, while Paul Diaz and Baguio Midland Courier editor Harlington Palangchao and fiscal Edwin Brian Sagsagao chipped in 16, 15 and 10, in that order, to count for the team.

Danilo Basilo carded 20 points and lead the Tieza Club Intramuros Golf Course with 51. Mark Lapid, Andy Licudan and Nestor Domalanta scored for the team with 14, 10 and 7, in that order.

Southwoods opened with 101 and take a 17 point lead on CJH in Seniors Am Championships. At third is Senior Golfers of Veterans which has 80.

Meanwhile, Drajdan opens with a three shot lead in Seniors Am A with 71. CJH Hotels is at second spot with 68 and a two point lead on Residences at Brent.

Two points separate three teams from each other in Seniors Am A – LMG Construction (67), Baguio City GT (65) and EK Amigos (63).

In Seniors Fil B, Team Mcder is six shots off on Ropali with 66, while IGC Seniors – Xentromall is at third spot with 55 points.

This year’s tournament lack the foreign contingents even those of Filipino descent including locals.

Aside from the host clubs, the other sponsors are Boysen Paints, Pangasinan Solid North, Puma, Srixon, Mizuno, The Manor at John Hay, Forest Lodge and Le Chef.

The organizers likewise imposed Antigen tests for the players and done thrice during the course of the tournament, while triage had been set at both golf clubs to curb possible outbreaks. “We have to comply with the minimum health protocol as mandated by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force),” said newly installed acting CJH manager Jude Eustaquio who added that the Fil-Am will be the benchmark in staging all amateur golf tournaments in the country.

Some 40 teams in the regular side and 16 in the senior side.

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