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Southwoods is PAL champ

Baguio City — The weather was unkind – rain, fog and chill – and it wiped out the final round of the PAL Ladies Interclub Friday putting an anticlimactic end to the tournament.

Manila Southwoods formally clinched the championship, its sixth straight, but it could not have gone any other way as the defending champion with its star-studded lineup was up by 35 points.

Even if the weather cooperated, Southwoods would still have won the championship as its chief rival, Cebu Country Club, was unlikely to mount a serious challenge.

Members of the victorious Manila Southwoods flash the No. 1 sign after extending their reign in the PAL Ladies Interclub to six years. They are (from left) Pauline del Rosario, team captain Claire Ong, Lora Roberto, Mikhaela Fortuna, Bernice Ilas, Serafina Kim, and Sofia Chabon. (JJ Landingin/Manila Bulletin)

Members of the victorious Manila Southwoods flash the No. 1 sign after extending their reign in the PAL Ladies Interclub to six years. They are (from left) Pauline del Rosario, team captain Claire Ong, Lora Roberto, Mikhaela Fortuna, Bernice Ilas, Serafina Kim, and Sofia Chabon.
(JJ Landingin/Manila Bulletin)

“Yes, it’s quite disappointing,” said Pauline del Rosario, the 17-year-old star of Manila Southwoods who was able to play just one round. “We wanted to play, but it is what it is.”

Southwoods team captain  Mary Claire Ong said she felt bad about the cancellation, more so for Pauline who was hoping to clinch the individual top award for a fitting goodbye for amateur golf.

This will be her last PAL tournament before turning professional next year.

Because some players were not able to play two rounds, organizers ruled that the individual award would go to the player with the best round.

That honor went to Cebu Country Club’s Crystal Faith Neri who shot a three-under-par 65 during the tournament’s first round last Tuesday.

Del Rosario was second at two-under-par 66 and rued the bogey she made on the last hole of her round last Wednesday.

Losing the individual title was the only disappointment for the Southwoods squad whose players, oftentimes composed of the cream of ladies amateur, have ruled this tournament since it was resumed six years ago after a long hiatus.

“We always try to bring the best players in the tournament,” said Ong whose squad gets total support from club management besides having a committed ladies chapter.

Southwoods led from start to finish and round after round, increased its lead against Cebu which was its only rival  in the 32-team competition. From four points after the first round it ballooned to 35 points after three for a total of 460 points.

Cebu composed of what its coach called players who play golf sporadically, shot 425 points total.

Cebu coach Kim Hong said they came to have fun “but if we win, that’s a bonus.”

Unlike Southwoods whose team will have the same strong lineup for next year, except for Del Rosario,” Cebu is uncertain to bring the same squad  next year.

“Many of us are working,” said Irina Gabasa, who, along with her sister Juania  are the pillar of this year’s squad.