BAGUIO CITY – Team North took the first two matches then went on to post a 3 1/2-2 1/2 lead over South in four-ball at the start of The Duel – North vs South – at the Camp John Hay Golf Club here today.
Miguel Tabuena and Randy Garalde bucked windy, chilly condition to turn back Tony Lascuña and Orlan Sumcad, 2&1, while rookie Ira Alido complemented well with veteran Mars Pucay to clobber the Bayron brothers – Jay and Rufino – 5&4 – as the Northerners took early control of the better-ball format event of country’s version of the Ryder Cup sponsored by ICTSI.
Keanu Jahns and Justin Quiban rallied from three down and took three of the last six holes to force an all-square match with Clyde Mondilla and Rene Menor and keep Team North in the lead in the three-day event culminating in the deciding singles tomorrow.
Zanieboy Gialon and Cassius Casas birdied the 18th to complete a 2-up win over Michael Bibat and Benjie Magada and give South its first full point before North’s Joenard Rates and James Ryan Lam dominated Jhonnel Ababa and Jerson Balasabas from start to finish for a 4&2 win.
But Mhark Fernando and Elmer Salvador won four straight holes from No. 4 and battled from one-down to score a 4&3 rout of Gerald Rosales and Jobim Carlos and keep Team North within striking distance heading to today’s (Thursday) foursomes.
Team North coach Temyong Murakami keeps the Pucay-Alido pair as it clashes with Ababa and Gialon in the alternate shot format with Tabuena teaming up with Rates against Rufino Bayron and Sumcad.
South mentor Charles Hong, on the other hand, hopes to extract a full point from the powerhouse tandem of Lascuña and Mondilla as they collide with Rosales and Quiban while Jay Bayron also tries to rebound with Salvador as partner against Magada and Lam.
Casas and Balasabas, meanwhile, face off with Bibat and Carlos in the last pairing of the event with North out to score a follow-up and build enough cushion heading to the singles where South appears to have an edge.
The aces from Visayas and Mindanao are eyeing a third straight championship but the top guns from Luzon are out to foil their bid and score a follow-up to their lone victory in 2013.