CEBU CITY — Before two weeks ago, Eastridge Golf Club was unsure if it could compete in the 74th Philippine Airlines Men’s Interclub golf team championships.
Halfway through the tournament, the Binangonan-based squad is stalking powerhouse Manila Southwoods.
On Thursday, Eastridge outscored Southwoods, 135-133, at the more difficult Club Filipino de Cebu to reduce the gap to 12 points with two rounds remaining.
“We got the call only two weeks ago so we weren’t able to prepare,” said Eastridge COO Gimo Asuncion. “This will be the team’s first time joining the regular tournament so there’s no expectation.”
But this does not mean Eastridge will not try its best to give Southwoods a run for its money, according to Asuncion.
Ronel Tagaan, one of five former Davao caddies in the lineup, scored the day’s best score — 36 points — to anchor Eastridge’s second-round assault. He mixed three birdies with three bogeys.
Zachary Villaroman, the 15-year-old son of coach Carito Villaroman, bounced back from a poor performance at CCC with 35 points.
Chris John Remata added 34 while Edison Tabalin chipped in 30.
Eastridge got the attention of Southwoods non-playing captain Thirdy Escano who underscored the need to come up with a better score on Friday.
“I don’t care about the score as long as the boys beat Eastridge,” he said. “That’s the only time I can get a good sleep on the eve of the final round.”
Veteran Junjun Plana, the top scorer at the Cebu Country Club on Wednesday, failed to count with 28 points but the rest of his teammates picked up the cudgels to make sure Southwoods remains comfortably on top.
Ryan Monsave and Lanz William Uy each shot 35 points to lead the defending champions while Shinichi Suzuki and Masaichi Otake contributed 34 and 29, respectively.
“We were five points short of our target today, but we kind of expected this. We could not possibly get the best score every day,” Escano said.
Southwoods has a 36-hole total of 274 while Eastridge has 262.
Pre-tournament favorite Cebu Country Club posted 130 to keep its hold of the third spot with 256.
Jacob Cajita sparkled for CCC with 36 while Jufil Sato added 35. Bayani Garcia and Jon Joseph Alvarez rounded out scoring with 30 and 29, respectively.
Rounding out the standings in the championship division were Del Monte 240, Valley 237, Tagaytay Highlands 232, Pueblo de Oro 212, and Sta. Elena 202.
In the Founders division, Alabang extended its lead over Orchard by eight points after collecting 113 points also at Club Filipino de Cebu.
Anthony See led Alabang with 33 points followed by Christopher Popp 30, Juan Ibazeta 26 and Marc Lamberto Reyes 24.
Alabang now has 233 points.
Orchard drew 36 points from Kim Tae Soo to shoot 112 and 225 overall. Other scorers were Kim Tae Won 28, Young Sook Kim 27, and Beejay Chua 21.
Forest Hills matched Alabang’s output to stay in third place with 224.
The annual event, held with the theme “Back to Ignite,” is supported by platinum sponsors ABS-CBN Global, Asian Journal, Airbus and NUSTAR Resort and Casino.
Gold sponsors include Radio Mindanao Network, Mastercard, “Memories FM 89.9 Cebu”, University of Mindanao Broadcasting Network, PLDT/Smart and Konsulta MD.
Joining the event as silver sponsors are Philippine National Bank, Biocostech and VISA.
Minor sponsors are Bollore Logistics, Manila Standard, Tanduay Brands International, and Asia Brewery while donors are the Department of Tourism, Ogawa, Newport World Resorts, Rolls Royce and Boeing.