Junior players take center stage beginning today when the 2016 Philippine Junior Amateur Match Play Golf Championship unwraps at the Alabang Country Club in Muntinlupa.
With last year’s champion Rupert Zaragosa now with the men’s ranks, the battle for this year’s boys’ title is expected to be fierce with Korean Tom Kim seeking a sweep after winning the Philippine Amateur stroke play crown three weeks ago.
But he will be up against a talent-laden field, which includes Dan Cruz, Carlo Villaroman, Jolo Magcalayo, Ira Alida, Marc Corrales, Aldo Barro, Ralph Lauron, Aniceto Mandanas and Adrian Romero.
Also in the fold are Koreans Kim Tae Hun and Ko Myeong Hun, Liam Cully, Pierre Ticzon, William Chua, Luis Castro, Riggs Illescas, Jaime Oposo, Chadric Lazaro, Paolo Barro, Nathan Kawpeng, John Jun and Peter Tyler Po.
Harmie Constantino and Yuka Saso, meanwhile, gear up for a repeat of last year’s title duel in the girls’ side of the annual event held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, PLDT, Smart, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and the Philippine Sports Commission.
Out to spoil their bid are Yun Ji Jang, Kang Da Yun and Koh Eun A of Korea, Annika Guangko, Kristine Torralba, Jona Magcalayo, Ashia Nocum and LK Go.
While Constantino boasts of a number of victories, including the Philippine Amateur Stroke Play Championship early this year, Saso is coming off a stint with the national team in the Queen Sirikit Cup where the Philippines placed third.
Saso is also aiming to score a repeat over the reigning national champion and veteran SEA Games campaigner, whom she dominated in last month’s Philippine Amateur Junior Open at Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Cavite.
The field slugs it out in the 36-hole stroke play elims with the top 32 in the boys’ side and the top 16 in the girls’ division moving to the knockout phase starting Thursday with the boys playing two rounds.
The quarterfinals and the semifinals in both categories will be held Friday while the finals, also set for 36 holes in both categories, will be played Saturday.
Also on tap is the special division for boys’ and girls’ 13-and-below.