BAGUIO CITY: Done with the first, defending the Senior’s Fil-Championship, San Miguel – Northern Cement goes out for its second mission: defend the Regular Fil-Championship of the Fil-Am Golf Invitational Tournament Tournament presented by San Miguel at the Camp John Hay and Baguio Country Club golf courses.
And that task lies on the big shoulders of Eddie Bagtas, the former pro turned senior player and now the anchor of the San Miguel squad that took the tournament by storm when it joined the annual competitions.
Bagtas said that they will do their best despite the young squad he assembled and the absence of top young amateur Rupert Zaragosa who helped them win last year.
Zaragosa has reportedly joined the ranks of one time champion Forest Hills, which aims to win since its break-through year in 2013.
Bagtas and crew will report on Tuesday at the John Hay course to start their title defense and with him are a young crew whose average age is 19.5 years.
With Bagtas are Jelbert Gamolo, GJ Katigbak, Aniceto Mandanas and Maynard Ko.
Bagtas said that he will face stiff challenge from many time champion Manila Southwoods which will once again have Nestor Plana, Chepe Dulay, Jose Sajulga, Joo Hyung Kim, Liam Cully and Lanz Uy, a member of last year’s winning San Miguel.
Southwoods, winner of seven straight titles from 1996 to 2002, is expected also to parade Aira Anido and that gives the team an extra muscle in wresting the crown held by San Miguel.
Last year Bagtas and Zaragoza combined to give San Miguel a come from behind victory over the three day leader Southwoods.
The two scored a three under 66 for 39 and a four under 148 points and 543 total to beat the defending and eight time champion from Carmona, Cavite, which made 144 for 539.
Gamolo had an even par 69 for 36 points while the beanpole Uy chipped in a 34 for San Miguel which started the tournament five shots down.
Southwoods closed with an even par 144 on Kristoffer Arevalo’s four under 65 for 40, Yuto Katsugarawa’s 37, Ryan Monsalve’s 35 and Justin Quiban’s 32.
“But, we will do our best to wi ,” said Bagtas, who added that unlike most of their competitors, they do not have a course they will call their own.
Forest Hills Palmers, the 2013 champion, Royal Northwoods, 2014 champion Mizuno, Team Time Cargo Logistics and Che’lus are also expected to give challenge San Miguel.
Competitions in the lower flights of A to E and the Championship flights on Tuesday with the Fil to be played at the longer par 69 John Hay link and the Am at the shorter par 61 BCC fairways.