BAGUIO CITY – The long Fil-Am Golf season’s second week starts Monday, Dec. 5 and after the second ceremonial tee today, Dec. 4 at the Baguio Country Club and Camp John Hay golf courses.
Play begins in flights A, B, D and E in the Fil and Am divisions, even as defending champion San Miguel – Northern Cement and five other teams including perennial contender Manila Southwoods start their respective bids Tuesday in the premiere Fil Championship flight.
Officials of the organizing committee and the host city led by mayor Mauricio Domogan, who saw action in the Seniors Fil-A last week hit the dimpled ball that officialy begins the second phase of the Fil-Am golf which is considered one of the biggest and oldest amateur golf event.
More than 400 players are expected to start their quest Monday in the hope of bringing home the Peter Pinder ethnic-inspired trophy and considered by many as the best yet the annual competition has given away to the winners.
More than 600 golfers of the total 1,200 will see action the next six days that will end Saturday with the awards ceremony at the BCC.
“This will be a tough Fil-Am golf just like last year,” said CJH Golf Club manager Tim Allen of the event presented by San Miguel especially with the Fil Championship teams beefing up to win this year’s competitions.
The Carmona, Cavite based parbusters hope to repeat last year’s debacle when they lost the last day after getting outgunned by the past and future of amateur golf – Eddie Bagtas and Rupert Zaragosa – who both scored a three under 66 for 39 points as San Miguel rallied past the three day leader.
But Bagtas consider themselves the underdog in this year’s quest mano y mano especially the eight time champion Southwoods.
“They (Southwoods) practically have all the national team players,” said the hefty former pro who is the spearhead of the San Miguel crew that earlier defended the Seniors Fil Championship title.
And Bagtas hopes to get his A game this week after so so performances last week that nearly cost again San Miguel the title thanks to a rampaging Megafiber which fell short by one in a last day resurgence that drew praises from the defending champion.
“Give it to Megafiber, we escaped by the skin of our teeth,” summed what appeared as a shaken Bobby Inigo after the game.
Kristopher Arevalo and Yuto Katsuragawa return for Southwoods as they try to erase the ghost of last year’s last day collapse. Young talent Aira Alido as well as Ryan Monsalve, Aidric Chan and Carl Corpus make up one of the strongest and the youngest teams.
But former champions Srixon Forest Hills and Mizuno Ecoverde are also no push overs as they hope to hoist also their second title in the golfing event. There is also Che’lus which hopes to forget the 2014 close call to Mizuno and lost through count back.
Forest Hills appears to be the most eager to get back atop podium when it parades Zaragosa after the pint sized top amateur player opted to play for them. Forest Hills, won in 2013, has Juson Eustaquio, Dan Cruz, Luigi Miguel Guerero and JP de Claro in its line up.
Royal Northwoods returns to improve its fourth place finish last year , while Team Time Carego Logistics is the sixth team in the top flight.
The Fil-Am golf is also backed by Toyota, Petron, Magnolia, SMC Global Power, Northern Cement, San Miguel Lifestyle Brews, Manor at Camp John Hay, Forest Lodge, Empire, CJH Development Corporation, Baguio Country Club, Le Chef,and the CJH Trade and Cultural Center, and Mizuno.
By Dexter A. See