Cebu | March 2, 2015
Tonlits Asistio, just over three years removed from surviving an attempt on his life, fired a two-under-par 70 worth 38 points and powered Southwoods to its first Philippine Airlines (PAL) Interclub Men’s Championship in more than a decade.
Asistio barely missed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th but still put an exclamation point to a swashbuckling effort as anchor as Southwoods pooled a closing 128 at tree-lined Cebu Country Club here to dethrone Orchard by two points with a 493 total in one of the event’s most exciting finishes ever. Orchard fought doggedly hard in its quest for a repeat but fell agonizingly short as Raymund Sangil’s 34, and the 33s of Kristoffer Arevalo and JP De Claro made up the bulk of its final round 127 for 491 with Cebu CC finishing another seven points behind in third. Wack Wack, which formed a team originally for the lower Founders Division, got 35 points from the veteran Tommy Manotoc and was fourth with a 480 after 123 with the young Del Monte squad checking in another two points behind at 478 after 121.
“Tonlits just gave himself a good send off,” playing captain Thirdy Escano said in the din of the celebration behind the 18th green as the Carmona, Cavite-based crew won for the first time since 2001.
“He is turning pro again in March and what a way to perform,” Escano added. “We never expected this (to win), but when we got the chance (after the third round), we knew that he (Asistio) would be the best man to anchor our team.”
National pool member Justin Quiban finished bogey-bogey but still salvaged a level 36 as he and Asistio both eagled the par-5 16th which erased a four-point deficit to Orchard going into the last five holes. Ryu Ken Yasuma and Escano fired 27s and were the last scores that counted for Southwoods, which discarded the 26 of Teody Pascual, who blew up in his final nine holes after hitting an umbrella girl with his tee shot on No. 10.
“They (his teammates) didn’t want to tell me where we stood when I entered the closing holes,” Asistio said. “But I really wanted to know so that I would know what I needed to do.” What he did was knock an 9-iron from 160 yards out stiff to just four feet of the cup for that eagle before finishing par-par.
“This just feels great. I am very happy for the team,” Asistio said. This Interclub will be the last for Asistio, who took eighth place in the qualifying tournament of the local tour two months ago while promising to be the best player that he can be.
“In my first stint as a pro, I didn’t practice that much because I knew that I was already a good player,” Asistio said. “But after that (shooting) incident, I have been working as hard as I could.”
Aian Arcilla fired 27 points to complete scoring for Orchard, while Montito Garcia, also a senior standout like Manotoc, paced all Cebu CC scorers with 35 with Eric Deen and Marko Sarmiento shooting 31s and Gen Nagai managing just 29. Wack Wack drew 33 points from Ernesto Marcelo and 31 from Gabriel Manotoc with John Gobing contributing 24.
Meanwhile, Socal Red Hawk ruled the Sportswriters Division by 30 points over Stanford after closing out with 99 points over at Club Filipino de Cebu in Danao for the 420 total. Stanford fired 102 and nipped by four for second spot. Iloilo shot 100 points for 386 overall. One Mega, People Asia, Hotel H20, Travelife, Boeing International Corp., Business Mirror and GE Aviation are sponsoring the PAL Interclub Seniors and Regular Men’s events. Other backers include Manila Bulletin, Mareco Broadcasting Network (Crossover), Whealth Inc., Aerospace, Uniglobe Travelware Co. Inc., Tanduay Distillers and Intercontinental Manila. The complete scores: Championship Manila Southwoods 493, Orchard 491, Cebu 484, Wackwack 480, Royal Northwoods 379, Del Monte 478, Forest Hills 435, Veterans 318, Fil Am Fairfield 295, Camp Aguinaldo 294, Camp Evangelista 274, Figme 202 Friendship Skywest 284, Pittsburg Fil-Am 274, Brotherhood Sharp 273, Figme Dubai 269, MSU 259,Van City Golf 252, SFO Crystal Spring 248, Mabuhay Golf Club SFO 230, Austral Asian Golf Melbourne 227, Moffet Field 221, Baguio 205, Yokohama Eagles 162 Sportswriter Socal Red Hawk 420, Stanford 390, Iloilo 386, Camp John Hay 379, Sta Elena 378, Mactan Island 374, Fil Am Hawaii 372, Lumbia 370, SFO Maharlika 368, Sarangani 360, PGA British Columbia 357, Victorias Golf 347, Philippine Navy 333, Pearl Kai Hawaii 333, UP Tee Jots 332, Sherwood Hills 312, South Cotabato 306, Bay Area 304, Bacolod 302, Lanang 300, Cotabato 293, San Juanico 288, Guinhalaran 280, Green Tea Riyadh 271, South Bay 267, Seattle 265, Fil Oz Sydney 248, Greenhills West 240, Northgate 229, Team Leyte 221, Filipino Golfers Assoc Kuwait 212, Greater Vancouver Golf Assoc 209, Figme UAE 201, Mt Malindang 197 Founders Alabang 465, Alta Vista 449, Valley Golf 441, Negros 440, Apo Golf 439, Villamor 438, Rancho Palos Verdes 425, Tagaytay Highlands 424, Riviera 420, Club Filipino de Cebu 409, Pueblo de Oro 399, Iligan 396, Eagle Ridge 391, Davao 387, Manila Golf 376, Zamboanga 366.