MEMBERS of the Orchard squad celebrate after winning their first PAL Interclub title. From left are Nico Santiano,Ace Stehmeier, Rodel Mangulabnan, Jikjik Abdon, GM Rene Garovillo, TJ Benitez, Tonito Payumo, Ray Sangil, JP de Claro, Allan Arcilla, King Stehmeier and captain Francis Montallana. ROMY HOMILLADA
Originally posted on: Inquirer.Net
March 2, 2014
BACOLOD—Unwavering till the end, Orchard put an exclamation point to its Cinderella finish in the Philippine Airlines Interclub Men’s championship by leaving the field eating its dust at the Marapara course of Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club.
With pro-bound Jik-Jik Abdon firing a two-over-par 72 worth 34 points and the seasoned King Stehmeier contributing 33, Orchard tallied 126 points at the wind-swept, heavily wooded layout to win by 18 over Alabang on its first try in the elite division.
Ace Stehmeier added 30 and either of the 29 by JP De Claro and Ian Salvador completed the final day score of the Cavite-based squad which finished with a 72-hole 477 tally.
“We certainly didn’t expect this,” nonplaying skipper Francis Montillano said. “But we were ready to play, though there were doubts about our ability to play with the big boys.”
The most dominant team in the lower Founders Division the past decade, Orchard opened up with 129 points at Binitin last Wednesday for a four-stroke lead over Del Monte then sustained its brilliant play the whole week.
Abdon loomed large in that hot start and solid finish, firing 35 points at Binitin to also win the individual championship for the first time before turning pro next month starting with the Splendido leg of the local tour in Tagaytay.
“This is certainly sweet—to win the double [team and individual crowns],” said the 22-year-old Abdon. “This is my first and last year with Orchard, and it certainly will be memorable.”
Justin Quiban fired 33 points and Jama Reyes shot 32 as Alabang, which started the day 10 shots behind, held on to finish second for the second straight year after tallying 118 for the day for a 459 total.
Basti Lorenzo struggled with 28 and Gabriel Manotoc contributed 25 for Alabang, which discarded the 23 of Ramon Garcia even as Del Monte, a pretournament favorite, settled for third spot at 452 after a similar 118.
Leonard Lofranco, playing for the second straight day, fired 33 points, Mel Cubillo shot 29 and Joven Luterio and Noel Langamin had 28 each for the Bukidnon-based squad, which threw away the 26 of Francis Morilla.
Cebu Country Club, whose “three-peat” bid was quashed on Friday after a pathetic 96 at Binitin, closed out with 114 built around the 31 of Marko Sarmiento. The Cebuanos finished 40 points behind Orchard.
Ramontito Garcia fired 29 and Jovi Neri and Bayani Garcia accounted for 27 apiece to complete scoring for the Cebuanos, who played without Mark Dy and Lloyd Jefferson Go—vital cogs of their first two championships—here.
Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club won the Founders division also in runaway fashion after posting 452 points. Veteran Francis Gaston, who powered Luisita to the Seniors title last week, led scoring with 34 points.
Eagle Ridge ruled the Sportswriters division by seven over Lumbia with a 384 total while Fil-Am Hawaii topped the Friendship class over Victorias Golf, 319-313.
NOTES: This year’s Interclub is co-sponsored by CrossOver with Boeing, Philippines Graphic, Stargate Media (People Asia) and Rogue as corporate backers. Also lending support are Airbus, Business Mirror, One Mega Group (Travel Now), PBC, MBC and Manila Bulletin.