BAGUIO CITY – With Megafiber returning as champion of the Senior Fil Championship after six years and the Camp John Hay golf team winning the first super senior crown last week, the stage is now set for the regular flights of the 69th Fil-Am Invitational golf tournament with Manila Southwoods seeking an unprecedented 17th Fil Championship trophy and as many Am Championship crowns.
Actions start on December 10 for the regular flights of Championship and A to E in the event presented by San Miguel Corporation and backed by Toyota, which gives a Toyota Rush for aces in holes 10 of the BCC and 18th of the CJH in the next six days.
Players from flights A, B, D and E will start seeing action at the par 61 BCC course and par 69 CJH layout as they seek honors in the world’s oldest and biggest amateur golf tournament.
This as Fil-Am golf executive chairs Anthony de Leon and Tim Allen along with city officials led by Mayor Mauricio Domogan and Congressman Mark Go fired the ceremonial tees at the two courses on December 9 to mark the start of the six day tournament.
Eyes, however, will be on Southwoods on Tuesday as they start their bid with Yuto Katsuragawa, who led the team to the title in 2016, leading a young Carmona, Cavite parbusters to the title anew.
Katsuragawa, Japan’s eighth best player, is expected to get good backing from another Japanese amateur, Aguri Iwasaki, who is said to be even better then him.
Katsuragawa has two titles this year in the Japan amateurs, the Chubu Amateur Championship last June and the Japan Collegiate Championship. He also finished second in the World University Championship last May in Pradera Verde Golf Club here which was won by a Japanese compatriot.
Ateneo de Manila top senior high school golfer Aidric Chan, cousin Carl Corpus, as well as veteran Junjun Plana will try to make Southwoods a 17-time champion in the Fil-Am, and tie Canlubang’s record. Plana has been on and off with the team since 1997 as he played for the Am Championships in several occasions.
Southwoods, however, is the most dominant team ever counting its wins in the Am Championship since joining in 1997.
Lanz Uy and Liam Cullins will also return to make it a double whammy for Southwoods in the Am Championship which won by a whopping 50 points last year.
In the line up are: Josh Jorge, Sean Ramos, Jegg Jung, and Masaichi Otake.
Out to challenge Southwoods anew in the Fil Championship is 2012 champions Mizuno X-1R with brother King and Ace Stehmeier returning to give Southwoods a run for its money.
Also listed for Mizuno are: Justin Tambunting, Junro and Jordan Mamaril.
Local player Luigi Paolo Wong will play for Royal Northwoods this year. Last year, the 18 year older from nearby La Trinidad, Benguet saw action for Southwoods and played two four under pars at CJH for 40 points, but faded at the BCC course after rounds of 24 and 27, both scores not counting.
Northwoods will have again Richard Joson, as well as Carlo Villaroman, Nik Gatmaytan and former Mizuno ace, Ray Sangil.
Top amateur player Rupert Zaragosa will lead 2011 champion Forest Hills Puma. He will be backed by last year’s group I individual runner-up and club manager Jude Eustaquio, who was actually tied for the lead but lost to countback to 16-year older Joon Hyung Kim of Southwoods.
Also in the team are: Inigo Raymundo, Rocky Co and Dan Cruz, who played for the winning Senior Am Championship winner Luisita Golf and Country Club last week.
Mizuno and Forest Hills will also have teams in the Am Championship. Batangas Barakos and Philippine Navy will make it a five sided fight.
By Fil-Am Media