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Luisita takes slim lead

BAGUIO CITY — Benjie Sumulong had one can of beer on one hand while recounting how he saved bogey after hitting out-of-bounds on the eighth, his second-to-last hole at Camp John Hay Golf Club in Baguio City Sunday.

“It was a nice save,” said the 65-year-old whose 35 points lifted Luisita Golf Club to a slender two-point lead over defending champion Manila Southwoods.

As most struggled on the sleek, tricky greens, Sumulong played solidly, going two-under through 11 holes before he ran into some bad breaks going home.

“I played really well. Could have shot two-under,” he said.

Known for drinking beer while playing, Sumulong said he had cut down his drinking, saying he only had two cans during the round.

Luisita rookie Marty Ilagan picked up on the last hole at 9 and threw his putter in dismay after missing his bogey putt.

“That’s the attitude I want,” Sumulong said.

“It means he’s angry and will make amends in the next round.”

Ilagan was the second-best scorer with 30 points despite two pickups, highlighting his round with a near hole-in-one on the 155-yard 18th hole.

Rodel Mangulabnan and Dan Cruz added 29 points apiece as Luisita totaled 123 points. Eddie Bagtas did not count with 22.

Manila Southwoods rode on the heroics of Raul Miñoza who had two birdies against four bogeys to fire 34 points.

Junjun Plana, making his senior debut, contributed 30 points despite four three-putts and one four-putt.

“My putter still had jet lag,” he joked.

Theodore Pascual and Manfred Guangko chipped in 29 and 28 points as Luisita opened with 121 points. Judd Roy failed to count with 23.

Sumulong said scoring anywhere between 30 and 32 is already a good round.

“The key to scoring well at John Hay is to make sure to keep the ball below the hole. It is easier said than done,” he said.

Riviera Golf occupied third spot with 111 that included a two-point deduction.

Kyung Young Jung, Koji Yasuma and Jong Myung Lee had 29 points apiece while Vince Infante added 26.

Mamala Bay drew 29 points each from Chris Howard and Dale Jorgenson to take fourth spot with 106 while Leeward Fil-Am of Hawaii leaned on Pat Viernes’ 29 to finish last with 92 points.

Meanwhile, a four-horse race shaped up in the Am-Championship bracket with Mega Fiber opening a one-point lead over Manila Southwoods Team 2.

Another two points back were Srixon IMG and Alpha Phi Omega Golfers-Team Alpha.

Mega Fiber, led by Mari Hechanova’s 28 points, collected 88 points. Other scorers were Rene Unson 25, Manuel Domingo 21 and Bing Bunye 14.

Raul Magpantay led Southwoods with 24 followed by Thirdy Escano 22, Joseph Tambunting 21 and Alexander Ignacio 20.

Srixon IMG and APO Golfers were tied for third with 85 points apiece.

Scoring for Srixon were Bernard Chang, August Cruz and Francis Roger Telan with 22 points each and Efren Leonardo with 19.

APO Golfers, on the other hand, got 28 from Demi Saclot, 22 from Raul Lambino, 18 from Querubin Alcantara and 17 from Antonio Florida.

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