(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manila Southwoods held Canlubang by the tail yesterday and shaved two points off the latter’s lead halfway through the 60th PAL Interclub golf tournament at the Pueblo de Oro Golf Club here.

Behind Doha Asian Games veteran Gene Bondoc and Jun Jun Plana, Southwoods, the 2005 champion, carded the day’s best effort of 135 points in the five-to-play, four-to-count tournament using the Stableford scoring system.

Bondoc had a 35 (one-over in medal play) and Plana a 34 to pace the team from Carmona, Cavite. Michael Bibat, another Asian Games veteran, and Don Erwin Vinluan both scored a 33 while Miko Yee didn’t count with his 30.

With a two-day 273, Southwoods moved just nine points behind defending champion and opening-day leader Canlubang which had a 133 for 282. A shootout between these two champions may take place in the last two days.

Jun Bernis, the 2004 RP amateur champion, and Jay Bayron, the reigning amateur champion, both had a 35 for Canlubang which also drew a 34 from Mario Labajo, a 29 from Boyet Saragoza and a 27, which didn’t count, from Joseph Labajo.

While Canlubang hoped to further stretch its 11-point lead yesterday, all Southwoods had wanted on the hot and humid day was to get closer at the leader. That should remain as the game plan for the third round.

"We’re happy we got two points off Canlubang’s lead. We’re happy with that. And we hope to sustain the momentum for us to have a very good chance on the final day," said Southwoods skipper Thirdy Escano.

Despite the big drop from their 149 the other day, Canlubang’s Luigi Yulo is not pressing the panic button, saying all the Barons would need is a steady round today at the old Del Monte course in Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon.

"But if we gain around five more points on Southwoods, I guess we’re safe," added Yulo who’s looking at another double victory for Canlubang this year. Its seniors team defended the title last Saturday.

Del Monte Golf, the 2004 winner, remained in the dark, still searching for a good round that could put it at least in contention. From 137 in the first round, the home team struggled more with a 131 for 268, paced by Joel Opaco’s eagle-aided 36.

Running behind Canlubang, Southwoods and Del Monte are Riviera (104-201), Fil-Am Hawaii (77-189), Saranggani (104-184), Tagaytay (93-181), Pinoy Vancouver (77-171), SFO Heritage (71-160) and Fil-Oz Sydney (69-154).

The day’s top honors, however, went to Mark Dy of Cebu Country Club. The 25-year-old former jungolfer fired the tournament best so far with 40 points at Del Monte and helped his team tie Orchard for the lead in the Founders Division.

Cebu Country Club and Orchard now have 242s followed by Wack Wack at 236, Negros Golf 228, Pueblo de Oro 227, Forest Hills 216, Sherwood 198, Rancho Palos Verdes 196 and Sta. Elena 189.

In the Friendship Division, Maharlika continued to show the way with its 203 total (112-91) followed by Stanford (170), IAGC San Diego (166), UP Tot Jots (161), FIl-Am Florida (156), Guinhalaran (147), Crystal Springs (145), PGA British Columbia (142), South Cotabato (132) and Austral Asian Mel (127).

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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