Team South hopes to cash in on its edge in personnel as it tries to seize early control in the opening Foursomes of the The Duel – North vs South – at the Camp John Hay Golf Club in Baguio today.
South coach Charles Hong boasts of the leading players in the current ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit, including the top four – Tony Lascuña, Clyde Mondilla, Zanieboy Gialon and Jhonnel Ababa – who are expected to lead the team’s drive for a third straight championship in this biennial event, the local version of the Ryder Cup.
Hong pits Lascuña and the Orlan Sumcad against North’s top gun Miguel Tabuena and Randy Garalde in the opening of the alternate shot format with brothers Jay and Rufino Bayron squaring off with Mars Pucay and rookie pro Ira Alido in the next match.
Mondilla, winner of two legs like Lascuña in this year’s PGT, will have Rene Menor as partner as they take on a pair of young North rivals in Keanu Jahns and Justin Quiban, while Gialon and Cassius Casas mix it up with Michael Bibat and Benjie Magada.
Ababa and buddy Jerson Balasabas will next face Joenard Rates and James Ryan Lam while Mhark Fernando and Elmer Salvador collide with Gerald Rosales and Jobim Carlos in the last of the six-pair opening event sponsored by ICTSI also held to foster camaraderie among the country’s leading players from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Team South trailed in the first two days when the last Duel was held at Wack Wack in 2015 but won nine of the 12 singles matches in the final day to beat North, 12 1/2-11 1/2, and complete a back-to-back feat.
The top players in the OOM rankings make up the two teams, including two alternates from each side, with Marvin Dumandan serving as Hong’s assistant and Temyong Murakami handling Team North with assistant Miko Alejandro.
The Fourball, also a six-match event, will be held tomorrow while deciding singles, featuring 12 matches, will be staged on July 7.