Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rivals prefer underdog tag


CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Defending champion Luisita and rival Canlubang both preferred to carry the “underdog” label as they set out for what could be another two-team duel in the 24th Philippine Airlines Seniors Interclub golf championship beginning today.

“Canlubang is favored,” said Iggy Clavecilla, one of Luisita’s top guns after a practice round at the Pueblo de Oro Golf and Country Club here.

He rattled off the reasons: “Mari Hechanova has been playing well; Tommy Manotoc has been shooting under par, same with Dave Hernandez; Rolly Viray is always dependable; Tony Olives is good at shotmaking.”

Clavecilla, the perennial national senior champion, will be backstopped by Francis Gaston, Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia, Pepot Inigo, Bong Sison, Carlo Gamban, Lino Magpantay and Herminio Maravilla in the four-day event.

Last year, Luisita upended the four-year reign of the Sugar Barons with Gaston outgunning Manotoc in the final day to lift the Tarlac-based squad’s to victory at his Marapara home course in Negros Occidental.

Yulo also refused to call themselves the prohibitive favorite in the golfest backed by platinum sponsors Boeing, Airbus, Radio Mindanao Network, Business Mirror and Interactive Broadcast Media (DWWW).

“We have the same lineup as last year. We just have to finish strong,” he said.

The four-day event will be played at the modern Pueblo de Oro here and the tough Del Monte golf course in nearby Bukidnon.

But aces from the two perennial contenders expressed contrasting views on which course will decide the winner in the prestigious tournament.

“The Pueblo course is suited for long hitters and high scorers. If anyone will get hot, he will be rewarded with nice numbers. And if all four members get hot, it will be a sure win in the championship division,” Clavecilla said.

As for Del Monte, Clavecilla said the course that’s laid out on a vast pineapple plantation will still give the players a challenge. “It will be hard to get good scores at Del Monte because it is shorter and has more trees lined up in the fairways,” he said.

“The trickiness of Del Monte will be the key,” Manotoc, for his part, said. “It’s a straight-hitters’ course, which would demand a lot from players for them to score.”

Pueblo de Oro, he noted, is a long-hitters’ course that could be rewarding at times. “But practically all of the players can hit it long, that’s why Del Monte could be the turning point.”

The Molave scoring system will be applied with a double bogey worth 1 point, bogey 2 points, par 3 points, birdie 4 points and eagle 5 points. A score of 72 in stroke play is equivalent to 54 points.

The event’s major sponsors are People Asia, 105.1 Crossover, GE Aviation and Traversing the Orient. Corporate sponsors Manila Bulletin and Bombo Radyo Philippines, while minor sponsors are Lufthansa Technik Philippines, MasterCard and Century Park Hotel. Prize donors include Panasonic Avionics and Tanduay.






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