Representing Baguio City, the City of Pines survived a third-round scare and won the regular Fil F crown comfortably in the first phase of the 73rd Januarius Fil-Am Golf Invitational Tournament held at Baguio Country Club and Camp John Hay on Nov. 22 to 30.
After suffering from cold feet at the start of the third round when play shifted at the short and tricky BCC course where they carded a measly 50 points to see their nine-point lead down to a single marker, City of Pines recovered and walked home with a flight best 82 for a four-day tally of 296 and a 24-point victory.
The first day result at BCC was a wake-up call for team captain Michael Lawana and players Aaron Cadiogan, Mark Jeff Balangitan, Rolando Bautista, and Harley Palangchao, who composed the team that led from day one, despite a two-point penalty due to signing of a wrong score of a marker that saw all its members improve their output considerably.
Balangitan improved from 11 on the third round to a team high 26 in the fourth round while Cadiogan walked home with a 22 from a 13-point output.
Palangchao was rather consistent after 20-points on the last round, a mark up from the team’s best of 17 on the third round.
Even Lawana was a tad better as he increased his output to 14 from a rather disappointing nine the previous day that dashed his hope for the individual crown after joining Palangchao atop the regular flight group 3 with 45 points apiece after the second round.
But City of Pines faltered on day one at the BCC course that the team needed to regroup and plan a course of action.
“We did not have much practice at BCC, and when we did, it was already nighttime that we could only play until the 10th hole,” said Palangchao as they struggled in their first round at the par-61 course and their team managed the third worst score that nearly endangered their quest for the title.
“Then last night we regrouped to determine why we lost ground. The decision was not to attack the green unless confident that the ball will bite the green,” said Palangchao.
It was rather sweet for the Baguio Midland Courier editor-in-chief, as he also bagged the individual plum with a four-day total of 82 points.
The New Ones Sandiwa tallied 61 for a four-day total of 272 to overtake Team Banh-Mi for second place. Team Banh-Mi had 55 and 270 for third place. – Pigeon M. Lobien