DAVAO CITY – Luisita Golf and Country Club combined for 158 points to stun pre-tournament favorite Canlubang Golf and Country Club at the start of the 23rd Philippine Airlines Seniors’ championship.
Former national seniors champion Wigberto “Iggy” Clavecilla humbled the 585-yard Rancho Palos Verdes Golf and Country Club course with an eagle-aided two under par 70 to blaze the trail for the sweet swingers from San Miguel, Tarlac.
Based on the modified PAL scoring system that awards a point for a double bogey, two bogeys, three par and so on, Clavecilla earned 56 points. Together with Pepot Inigo’s 53 and Richie Garcia’s 49, Luisita came up with 158 – and a commanding 18-point spread in the championship division.
In the tournament among players who are 55 or older, each team is allowed to have eight players. It can only use four players each round but only best three scorers would count. Bong de Guzman was Luisita’s fourth man with 44.
Luisita’s sparkling start humbled the star-studded opposition headed by Canlubang Golf and Country Club which is seeking its fourth consecutive team championship.
Tony Olives came up with a four over par 76 – or 50 points – to pace the sweet swingers from Laguna province in Luzon. Together with Dave Hernandez’s 46 and the 44 of either Rollie Viray or Phillip Brodett, Canlubang is a far second with 140.
Clavecilla, the ebullient campaigner from Luisita, nailed down his eagle at the par five, 496-yard Rancho Palos Verdes with a seven iron on his third shot from 160 yards.
Bacolod City’s Nene Tanpingco shared the opening day spotlight with Clavecilla when he sank his seven-iron second shot Apo’s par four, 323-yard 16th hole to register also for an eagle.
He didn’t win a price for his deuce but his Guinhalaran teammates Manny Parroco, Lito Jison, Joey Laurel, Raul Gamban, Boy Jalandoni, Paquito Infante and Ferdie Maranon swapped fives with him for it.
He went on to shoot 33 points via the modified PAL scoring system that awards a point for a double bogey, two bogeys. His round, which was 11 over par, was so-so, but his feat was memorable nevertheless.
“It’s a good shot,” said the father of national champion Anya and noted player J.R. “I don’t want to sound boastful but it’s my eighth eagle in my 50 years playing golf.”
PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime J. Bautista said other team crowns being contested are in the Sportswriters, Founders and Friendship divisions in the event launched in 1987 to continue providing the tournament for golfers who are 55 and older to go with the Men’s regular championship.
Texas Golf Club shot 139 on Samuel Lardizabal’s 48, the 46 of Miguel Asero and Emiliano Acuna’s 45 to power Texas Golf Club to third place in the championship division with 139.
Alabang Country Club combined for 137 to take fourth place while Manila Golf and Country Club made 130 to be at 130. Completing the top 10 are Fil-Am Golf of Florida 110, Team Brookside 109, Mercees Plantation 107, Chamorro Golf Club 106, San Francisco Heritage 87 and Pinoy Vancouver Golf 63.
This year’s event has ABS-CBN Cable Channels & Print Media Group, Airbus, Boeing, Business Mirror, Mizuno, MTV Philippines, Radio Mindanao Network and Solar Sports as platinum sponsors.
The major backers are Action Asia, Bombo Radyo, Crossover 105.1, People Asia, Royal Caribbean and XFM 92.3 with PAGCOR, Rajah Broadcasting Network, Century Park Hotel are the other supporters. Honda Cars Davao is the hole-in-one sponsor.