There wasn’t much excitement in the final round of the Philippine Airlines Interclub Senior Championship on Sunday in Cagayan de Oro City, only the workmanlike effort which has characterized Canlubang’s domination of the event.
In fact, Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire’s two-round demolition of Mexico’s Ferdinand Montiel on television gathered the attention of practically the entire clubhouse after the Championship Division flights entered its closing holes.
The Sugar Barons completed the ugliest rout in the history of Senior Interclub play after Rolly Viray fired a one-under-par 71 worth 55 points and Tommy Manotoc matched par for 54 for a closing 160 and a 28-point destruction of Luisita at Pueblo de Oro here.
Mari Hechanova tallied 51 points to complete scoring for Canlubang, which even discarded the 50 of Philip Brodett, a mark which could have easily counted as the top score for many teams as the Barons tallied a four-day 620 points.
Francis Gaston redeemed himself from a lethargic second round stint by pooling 53, but he got little help from Iggy Clavecilla and Lino Magpantay, who could only contribute 47 and 43, respectively for 143. Carlo Gamban’s 37 was thrown away.
In a hotly-contested Founders Division, OV Espiritu, the former banker, scored an eagle-aided 74 and powered Manila Golf to a one-point victory over Cebu Country Club.
Alex Prieto added 45 points and Jaime Panganiban 43 as Manila Golf totaled 564 points to snap a 15-year title drought. Cebu was led by Japanese Masatsugu Ochiai’s 49, Clifford Celdran’s 46 and the 45 of Noynoy Tirol.
Camp John Hay, tied for second with CCC at the start of the day, finished third another point back at 562 after getting 49 from Fred Puckett, 44 from Bong Mandapat and 45 from Clyde Cabreras.
Viray, the golf manager of Canlubang, had four birdies against a double bogey and a bogey in easily one of his finest efforts in years as he led the Barons to their fifth Senior crown in six years.
Manotoc won the individual championship for the third time in his senior career after shooting 70 for 56 at Del Monte on Saturday for 110 total points. Dave Hernandez and Tony Olives finished second and third, just three and four points back, respectively.
“I’m so tired. It was so hot out there today,” the 61-year-old Manotoc told reporters shortly after the round. “But the pressure was off after the front nine and that helped a lot because we played practically pressure free in the back nine.”
Viray and Manotoc were both nursing two-under cards after birdies on the par-5 seventh hole only to stumble a little the rest of the way as Viray had that double on the ninth before rescuing his sub-par card at the back with two birdies against a bogey.
Manotoc, meanwhile, bogeyed the 14th hole and three-putted the 18th, a meaningless error that didn’t put a dent on the mighty Canlubang armor in the end.
There will be a two-day break from action as the tournament prepares for the Regular Men’s championship where Del Monte is slightly favored to nail its second title with a team built around reigning Philippine Amateur champion Clyde Mondilla.
Canlubang will be shooting for an unprecedented sixth straight Men’s crown using a lineup teeming with youth and experience as junior national players Jobim Carlos and Ruperto Zaragosa III banner the Barons’ charge.
Manotoc and Hernandez will be back to play starting Wednesday even as Cangolf reactivated Abe Rosal. Gabriel Manotoc, Tommy’s 12-year-old son, will also be making his Interclub debut.
This year’s competition is backed by platinum sponsors Boeing, Airbus, Radio Mindanao Network, Business Mirror and Interactive Broadcast Media (DWWW). Major sponsors are People Asia, 105.1 Crossover, GE Aviation, Asia Brewery Inc. and Traversing the Orient.
Also lending support are corporate sponsors Manila Bulletin and Bombo Radyo Philippines, while minor sponsors are Lufthansa Technik Philippines, MasterCard and Century Park Hotel. Prize donors include Panasonic Avionics and Tanduay.
More detailed information on the tournament is available on the dedicated PAL Interclub webpage at www.palinterclub.com.