Holiday ace

By: Ray Roquero (Business Mirror) on January 15, 2018

The “North Star Lion” strikes back—shoots an eagle for the holidays

He had been out of the fairways for a few days, and that day, a Tuesday (January 2), his form seemed to go from average to mediocre.

But on the 17th hole, a par-5 that required long precision hitting, Secretary Raul Lambino was finally spectacular. He launched a 280-yard shot that went sailing beyond the farthest trap.

Even as it stayed aloft, and finally settled just off a line of trees, Percy Peralta, Ding Pace, Rene Estepa and Bing Alcantara, his partners on the flight, whistled in chorus: “Wow!”

And Percy would say it two more times.

Lambino hit his second shot, another beauty, that barely skimmed the trees and dropped 10 feet off the hole. And that was when it all began to settle on Percy, Ding, Rene and Bing that Lambino would remember this shot for the rest of his golfing career.

“He could have gone for a birdie,” Percy, grinning and shaking his head, said, “but he would not settle for it.”

With typical confidence, unrattled by a slight breeze, Lambino holed it in. He had just shot an eagle.

“Wow!” Percy was yelling again. “The Sec is back.”

Lambino savored the moment. “And to think that I have not played golf for several weeks,” he nodded to Percy.

“No rust,” Bing retorted.

With that shot, Lambino had a rout in his hands over a mixed field of veterans and upcoming fame-seekers. He walked jauntily and had a bounce in his step.

Percy, as usual, again struggled to a forgettable performance.

Moments earlier, Lambino had already downed a birdie in the 13th hole, one of the most challenging hurdles in a par-3.

He knows only too well that the eagle Lambino had carded was a shot by a man who is mostly self-taught in this old game. For years, he could be seen playing at the Veterans golf course putting in as many hours as he could in between interminable days of work.

It was that kind of day that descended on this tournament, one that Sec. Lambino, Administrator and CEO of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, could only dream of as he sampled the fairways as a respite from his hectic work pace.

Percy, now a chronicler of that feat, said the Secretary “has been missing the greens for sometime.”

But this was a day Sec. Lambino returned with a vengeance. Even the grain of grass and the evaporation of the dew did not escape his concentration.

“He measures himself by only one standard, both in life and in the fairways—to be the best,” Percy swore.