Heading into home course, Del Monte sets bold plans

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Yoyong Velez blasts out of the 16th greenside bunker. —PAL PHOTO

CAGAYAN DE ORO—Del Monte took a six-point lead over Canlubang after the first round of Senior action in the 75th Philippine Airlines (PAL) Interclub on Thursday, and with play shifting to their favorite stomping ground for the next two days, the Bukidnon-based bets made their marching orders known.

“We will work on widening our lead to at least 10 points going into the final round,” Yoyong Velez, after leading a 151-point day with a two-over-par 74 worth 52 points at Pueblo de Oro, told the Inquirer as the second and third rounds head to age-old, tree-lined Del Monte in Bukidnon starting on Friday.

“That’s our real home course,” Velez said even as he admitted that all of them in the squad also have innate knowledge of well-manicured Pueblo de Oro, which hosts the final 18 on Sunday. “I am confident we can play well there (at Del Monte), so getting a 10-point lead (after two more rounds), I think, is doable.”

Jun Maghamil assembled 51 points and Roroy Miñoza tallied 49 for Del Monte, which always makes the most out of its turn in hosting the country’s unofficial team championship.

“They’re now the favorites, we’re not going to deny that,” Canlubang spearhead Abe Rosal, who sat out the first round, said in a separate interview as he goes out for the second 18 for the Sugar Barons in hopes to pruning the gap. “When we came here, we’ve always said that Del Monte is the favorite.”

Canlubang, unseated last year in Cebu by Luisita, amassed 145 built on the 49s of Pem Rosal and Jessie Hernandez. The Sugar Barons, though, said that they aren’t going to veer away from their pretournament plans as far as player-fielding is concerned.

‘Still a lot of golf’

“They had a great day and we didn’t have a perfect day,” Cangolf nonplaying skipper Tony Olives said. “Abe will [spearhead the team] in the second round and we will see what happens.”

Defending champion Luisita was another shot back of Cangolf after getting 51 points from Ferdie Barbosa, 47 from Rodel Mangulabnan and 46 from Rafael Raymundo, and just like Olives, counterpart Jeric Hechanova said that it’s too early to press the panic button.

“I think [Del Monte] fielded their top three players here,” Hechanova said. “There’s still a lot of golf left to be played. We’re just going into the second quarter of a basketball game. We will make adjustments after the second round.”

Manila Southwoods kept top guns Jun Jun Plana and Jorge Gallent in the freezer for the first round and was good for 135 points led by the 46 of Joseph Tambunting and 45 of Manfred Guangco.



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