BAGUIO CITY – Manila Southwoods cruised to victories in the Championship flights of the 68th Department of Tourism Fil-Am Invitational Golf Tournament at the Baguio Country Club and Camp John Hay courses Saturday (Dec 16), its third straight double whammy in the tournament.
Joo Hyuk Kim recorded the only sub-par game at the short and tricky BCC course as he holed out with a two under worth 38 points to lead Southwoods’ closing round of 137 and 561 total for a 29 point victory in the Fil Championships.
At the CJH course, Kristoffer Arevalo made an even par worth 36 points to power the Carmona, Cavite based parbusters to 134 and 501 total for a 50 point margin in Am Championships.
“We’re so much relieved, our boys finally delivered the win,” said non-playing co-captain Jearome Delariarte, who came in with Joo’s small gallery in the last flight of the Fil team at the 18th hole of the BCC.
“We know that they could play well because these are the best amateur players, the cream of the crop,” said Delariarte, who was part of the grand slam winning Southwoods team in 1998, whose only remaining player member is Junjun Plana, who shot a 33 along with two other players, both youngsters, Carl Corpus and Aidric Chan, both 16.
It was also the team’s third straight drawing parallel to the 1998 squad, although, “I was much older then,” said Delariarte, who was then 21 and the team’s golden boy.
This time, the 15 year old Joo is the golden boy who finished with an even par worth 144 in the par 61 and 69 BCC and CJH courses, respectively, and drew even with Jude Eustaquio, who closed out with a three over or 33 points.
Eustaquio got a 30 from Luis Antonio Asistio, and 28 and 26 from Inigo Raymundo and Dan Cruz, respectively, for 117 and three round total of 532.
Nik Gatmaytan led Royal Northwoods with 31 for the team’s 116 and 501 total, 12 off Mizuno X-1R which shot a closing round of 121.
It was treble victory for Southwoods as the youngest in the group, Joo (15) went home with the individual Championship crown through countback, “based on the last day score,” said Pinero.
Southwoods has won in 2015 thanks to now pro Justin Quiban. Last year, Yuto Katsuragawa had an eight under to lead the team to the crown and this time, Joo as the golden boy.
“We are fortunate that that the boys played for us, they have a great future,” added Delariarte, who helped Southwoods win four more for a six-peat including the controversial and the highly contested 2002 against Calatagan.
All in all, Southwoods has won 15 of the last 21 years it has played in the Fil-Am, the most for any ball club. It joined in 1997, four years after its debut in 1993, according to Plana, who played from 1997 onwards, although not all the time with the top Fil Championship flight.
“Forget that. It just shows my age,” said the former national mainstay, who played in the 80s. But his return to the Fil-Am in 1997, after the John Sobrepena-led group took over the development the former American baseland, started what is the most dominating team ever in the tournament.
Only Canlubang has been more dominant in the past, winning eight titles including a rampage in its last in 1994 with current top pro Tony Lascuna and Richard Sinfuego.
“They are so young and yet they are so good. These crop is definitely the future of Philippine golf,” said Delariarte. La Trinidad, Benguet born and raised Luigi Paolo Wong, who did not count in the last day with a horrendous 22 after two four under 40 at CJH, is also 16, making the average age of the team sans Plana 15.75 years.
“They are just so good these kid,” Plana said. “They learned valuable lessons here and they now know how to respect the course, especially BCC,” added Plana.
Jama Reyes added 34, Chepe Dulay and Lanz Uy counted with 33 and 31, respectively for Southwoods which ran away with the title for the second straight year. Last year, with Plana around, the team won by a whopping 88.
This year, the team slowed down and won by a “measly” 50 points win over Razons of Guagua which closed out with a 124 and 451 points. Damas Wong had a flight best one under for 37 points for the Kapampangans while Adrian Mauricio, Chino Raymundo and Carlo Quimson added 30, 29 and 28, in that order.
Forest Hills sneaked past three-day third placed Team Time Cargo Logistics when it scored 122 points for 439 and a one shot lead over the latter which closed out with 119 points.
Batangas Barakos may have slowed down with a closing round of 98 and 465 and a 19 point victory in Fil A over San Miguel Corporation. Team Surigao I is another three shot down after a last day heave of 103 points.
Alaska Royalink Golf Team sneaked past two round leader Royal Northwoods to win Am A. Alaska closed out with a 119 and 429 for a three shot win over Northwoods which had a fourth round total of 110.
At third is Tiyo Paeng which shot a last round 101 and 414 points.
By Dexter A. See