Abe Avena and Gerald Katigbak set out as the marked players as they gun for back-to-back in the Philippine Seniors and Mid-Amateur Open Championships, respectively, which get going Wednesday at the Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa City, Batangas.
Avena, who ruled the event for players 55-years-old-and-above at Summit Point in emphatic fashion last year, is brimming with confidence as he heads to the 54-hole tournament set at Mt. Malarayat’s composite course which he calls home.
But a host of others are raring to spoil his repeat bid, including Rolly Viray, Rudy Amata, Butch Bacunawa, Mike Besa, Jose Mari Hechanova, Dave Hernandez and Tony Olives.
Also competing in the centerpiece division of the annual event, held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and backed by the MVP Sports Foundation, Cignal and Metro Pacific Investments, are Antonio Ong, Abe Rosal, Kato Sengyo of Japan and Zaldy Villa.
Keen competition is also seen in the Mid-Amateur (for players 25-years-old as of June 2017) with Katigbak bracing for an uphill battle against the likes of Juan Alba, Chester Calpotura, Carlo Canicosa, Rhonell Cousart, Elmer Jayloni, Jeck Mendoza, Arnel Paras, and Japanese Yuji Tokunaga and Koji Yasuma.
Other titles to be disputed in the event, organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines, are the Seniors Division I (55-59), Division II (60-65), and Super Seniors (66-and-above) to be played over 36 holes on Thursday and Friday.
Also up for grabs in the Mid-Am are Division I (25-54 with a handicap index of not less than 8.0 but not more than 15.0) and Division II (not less than 15.01 but not more than 24.0) titles.
Focus will also be on the leading and rising players in the amateur ranks with Don Petil, Leandro Bagtas and Carlos Jimenez leading the chase in the Elite Am Open (men’s) and national team mainstay Harmie Constantino and Kristine Torralba bannering the chase in the women’s side of the event, also set over 54 holes.
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