DAVAO – Cebu Country Club, starring a battery of talents developed at home, yesterday bagged its first PAL Interclub Men’s Championship title by holding off defending champion Del Monte at Apo Golf here.
Gio Gandiongco, a 16-year-old, drained a straight forward birdie putt from about six feet on the 18th to cap a two-over-par 74 worth 34 points as the rest of the team erupted in wild celebration near the closing green with an eight-point win.
For Del Monte, it was another heartbreaking finish in a second title defense, as the squad again failed to win the centre piece title away from home like what happened in the middle of the last decade.
The Bukidnon-based squad was hoping to overturn a seven-point overnight deficit with a five that was made up of two pro-bound mainstays: Bannie Abano and former national champion Clyde Mondilla.
But the Cebuanos were more than up to the task, as Mark Dy, a 30-year-old who was the first man out, took a three-point edge over Del Monte flight mate Noel Langamin to immediately restore order for CCC.
Cebu CC also got a 34 from Lloyd Jefferson Go and a 26 from former club champion Eric Deen for a final day 128 and 507 overall even as Alabang, the first round leader, shot a sterling 135 to finish another six strokes behind Del Monte in third.
Mondilla led Del Monte with 34, Abano had 33 and Lawrence Cubillo had 31 like Langamin for the squad’s 127. The 25 of JJ Gamolo failed to count for Del Monte.
AR Ramos returned a 37 and lefty Andres Saldana had a 36 with Basti Lorenzo and Justin Quiban both shooting 31s for Alabang, which will look back to a second-round 104 as to why it lost this tournament.
“Yes, I felt the pressure on the eighth hole when they told me that our lead was down to only three,” Gandiongco, a son of the owner of a popular bakery chain, said. “I just played my game and tried to preserve my score as best as I could.”
Gandiongco had two birdies, two bogeys and a pick up.
Cebu CC will be defending its title next year in very familiar grounds with Cebu playing host where four different courses – two for the Seniors and two for the Men’s – will be used.
“We will be hard to beat when we defend our title at home next year,” Ramontito Garcia, who failed to count with 25 points, said.
Camp John Hay also emerged as champion, ruling the Sportswriters class by 23 points over Eagle Ridge after a closing 111 for 411 overall.
Koreans Bong Jin-ho and Kim Hwa-rang scored 32 and 30 points, respectively, while Lawrence Celestino matched par at Palos Verdes for 36 points that led Eagle Ridge’s 101 and 388.
The platinum sponsors of the 65th PAL Interclub are Mareco Broadcasting Network, Radio High, Stargate Media, Media Five, GE; while the major backers are Asia Brewery, Business Mirror and Airbus.
Also lending support are the Department of Tourism, Philippine Graphics, Boeing International Corp., Bombo Radyo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, Moevenpick Resort & Spa Cebu, Plantation Bay, Radisson Blu Hotel and Imperial Palace Waterpark & Spa Cebu.
Watch out for exciting news to be announced soon!