CAGAYAN DE ORO — Playing on its veritable home turf, Del Monte on Thursday took command of Seniors action in the 75th Philippine Airlines Interclub golf tournament by pooling 151 points built behind Yoyong Velez’s two-over-par 74 worth 52 points at the well-manicured Pueblo de Oro.

With the first day of skirmishes being just one hour away from their usual stomping ground, the Manolo Fortich-based bets served notice of their capability to take the limelight away from the expected Canlubang-Luisita rivalry as Jun Maghamil tallied 51 and Raul Minoza counted with 49.

“We played really well here, despite Pueblo not being our real home course,” Mr. Velez said as Del Monte, which threw away the 45 of Arsenio Mondilla, took a six-point lead over the fancied Sugar Barons with the defending champion Luisitans sitting another shot back.

“We’re not really surprised that we played this way here,” Mr. Velez added. “What we want to do is sustain that kind of play going back to Del Monte for the next two days and take a sizeable lead going into the final round here (on Sunday).”

Action then goes to Del Monte in Bukidnon for the next two days and non-playing Cangolf skipper Tony Olives and Luisita counterpart Jeric Hechanova said that they will stick to their pre-tournament plans and not mess up with their fielding.

“They had a good day,” Mr. Olives said of Del Monte. “We just didn’t have a perfect day.”

Canlubang, which was placed by the 49s of Pem Rosal and ex-pro Jessie Hernandez, will have the seasoned Abe Rosal anchoring its Day 2 team at the rolling layout inside the vast pineapple plantation south of here. The Sugar Barons counted either 47s of Rolly Viray or JP Reyes.

“Yes, we will stick to our original plans,” Mr. Hechanova, after getting 51 points from Ferdie Barbosa and 47 from Rodel Mangulabnan, said. “This is good for golf here in Mindanao, good for the Interclub, that it’s not always a two-team race between Canlubang and Luisita.

Manila Southwoods was 15 points back after a 135, even though the Carmona-based squad kept its two biggest guns — Jun Jun Plana and Jorge Gallent in the freezer, with either one — or both — sure to come out for the second round and bring the club back in the thick of things.

Joseph Tambunting paced Southwoods with 46 points, Manfred Guangco accounted for 45 and Theody Pascual counted with 45. Michael Cheon’s 37 was thrown away.