Though the host team looks to snap a long title spell, Australia and New Zealand gear up for what could be another title clash in the Asia-Pacific Senior Teams Championship which fires off on Wednesday at the Alabang Golf Club in Muntinlupa.
The Aussies and the Kiwis have dominated the last eight staging of the annual event featuring the top golfing seniors in the region with the former winning five although the latter has won two of the last three, including last year’s edition in China.
Meanwhile, the 83-player field from 17 countries takes its official practice round today (Tuesday) with the traditional opening cocktails at 5:30 p.m., according to the organizing National Golf Association of the Philippines.
Frank Borren, Andrew MacKechnie, Reg Fleet and Michael Barltrop are back for New Zealand along with new members Martin Murray and John Sanders while three mainstays of Australia’s third placed team in China will headline the team’s title drive this week, including Gordon Claney, Ian Frost and Greg Rhodes, in the event hosted by the NGAP in behalf of the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation.
But the local bets are out to spoil the projected Australia-New Zealand duel with Abe Avena, Alan Alegre, Richie Garcia, Benjie Sumulon, Rolly Viray and Mari Hechanova anchoring Team Philippines, which is out to duplicate its last win in 2007 when the squad, composed of Iggy Clavecilla, Tommy Manotoc and Seve Chua, beat Australia at Mt. Malarayat in Lipa, Batangas.
Unlike in the Philippines’ last title romp, when play consisted of three players with the best two scores counting for the team total, the APGC has expanded the cast to a maximum of six players with the best four scores from each round counting for the squad since 2008.