The Philippines hopes to cash in on the so-called “home-court edge” the way it did the last time out as it tries to break the Australia-New Zealand domination of the Asia-Pacific Senior Teams Championship which the country will host on November 16 to 18 at the posh Alabang Golf Club in Muntinlupa.
With Abe Avena, Alan Alegre, Richie Garcia, Benjie Sumulong, Rolly Viray and Mari Hechanova bannering the squad, the hosts look to snap a long title drought in the event for players 55 years old and above which the Philippines won at Mt. Malarayat in 2007 on a team built around Iggy Clavecilla, Tommy Manotoc and Seve Chua.
However, unlike in the Phl’s romp over Australia, when play consisted of three players with the best two scores counting for the team total, competition has evolved to a maximum of six players with the best four scores from each round counting for the team the following year.
That should make the upcoming event, sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, Smart, PLDT, San Miguel Corp., the Philippine Sports Commission and the Department of Tourism, doubly interesting although Australia and New Zealand remain the early favorites after sharing the titles the last eight years with the Kiwis winning three, including last year in China.
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 banner the team’s bid, headed by Gordon Claney, Ian Frost and Greg Rhodes, in the event hosted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines in behalf of the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation.
Takeshi Kamei, meanwhile, will lead last year’s runner up Japan’s bid along with Satoshi Hato, Tomio Otomo, Kiyoshi Miyamoto and Tomoyuki Yoshida while Korea will be led by Junkee Lee, Changho Baek, Kuong Oh, Heongsoo Jang, Hyungsik Yoon and Yangkwon Kim in the tournament which drew 90 players from 17 countries.
Meanwhile, the organizing NGAP is leaving no stone unturned to ensure the smooth and successful staging of the 54-hole tournament with the well-kept Alabang Country Club expected to reach championship form in time for the event.
Other teams vying in the championship, which also features the individual competition and the international team event, are Bangladesh, England, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United States.
Handicap limits are Group A (55-59) – 14.4; Group B (60-64) – 16.4; Group C (65-69) – 18.4; and Group D (70 and above) – no limit. For details, call (02) 7065926.