Former national champion Francis Gaston gears up for a showdown with the rest of a crack field vying in the Sen-iors Open in the 2016 Philippine Senior and Mid-Amateur Open Championship, which unfolds on Wednesday at Summit Point Golf and Country Club in Lipa City, Batangas.
With last year’s champion Eddie Bagtas pulling out at the last minute, a wide-open battle loomed in the center-piece Open division with Gaston tipped to slug it out for top honors with the likes of Rudy Amata, Jose Mari Hech-anova, Dave Hernandez, Bobby Iñigo, Jose Iñigo, Raul Miñoza, Bong Sison and Rolly Viray in the 54-hole tourna-ment sponsored by MVP Sports Foundation, hosted by Summit Point and organized and conducted by the Nation-al Golf Association of the Philippines.
Others in the fold are Alan Alegre, Abe Avena, Mike Besa, Ryu Fukui, Rex Goquingco, Kenjiro Ishihara, Ben Jacinto, Ed Manzinares, Randy Reyla, Daniel Samaniego and Benjie Sumulong.
The Seniors Open features players 55 years old as of June 15, 2016 with the gross stroke play competition spread over three days using the regular men’s blue tees.
Also on tap is the 36-hole play for Seniors Division I (60-64), Seniors Division II (65-69) and Super Senior Division (70 and above) set Thursday and Friday.
Geraldo Katigbak, Raul Montealto and Richard Salcedo, on the other hand, lead the chase in the Mid-Amateur competition featuring players 30 years old as of June 15, 2016 also set over 54 holes from the gold tees.
Also lined up are the Mid-Am Division I (30-54 years old with a handicap index of not less than 7.0 but not more than 12.0) and the Mid-Am Division II (30-54 years old with a handicap index of 12.01 but not more than 18.0).
The NGAP is also putting up the Elite Amateur division, an invitational tournament also serving as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Tour and backed by the Philippine Sports Commission. The field is led by former national champion Rupert Zaragosa, Jolo Magcalayo, Adrian Romero, Earl Morley, Koreans Kim Tae Hun and Ko Myeung Hun, John Jun, Aldo Barro, Paolo Barro, Jan de Claro, Luigi Guerrero and Korean lass Hwang Min Jeong.