SILANG, Cavite, Philippines?The biggest ever Philippine Amateur championship field in decades tees off on Tuesday with crack players from three Asian countries challenging defending titlist Clyde Mondilla and a host of talented locals.
A crack roster of close to 100 players will see action in the 72-hole event jointly presented by Pancake House and SOC Land and backed by sportsman Hermie Esguerra, Autohub, Great Depot and Callaway and Odyssey Golf.
No player since Jerome Delariarte in 2003 has repeated as Philippine Amateur champ, and Mondilla will have his work cut out for him at the Langer layout of The Riviera here, which he said ?will not reward risk-takers.?
?Anything near even par could win this tournament,? the 17-year-old Mondilla said in Filipino after his final practice round. ?The key in this course is patience.?
The wind has been blowing here for the past two weeks, and the organizing National Golf Association of the Philippines has made sure that the course designed by the legendary Bernhard Langer will play fair but challenging.
Jobim Carlos and Art Arbole, teammates of Mondilla in the ICTSI-Canlubang squad, and Zannie Boy Gialon are the other Filipinos fancied to contend for the title.
Carlos won the individual title in the recent Montecillo International at the Malarayat in Lipa City, where Team Philippines finished third behind Thailand.
The hero of that victorious Thai team, Somprad Rattanasuwann, is entered in this tournament and, like Singapore?s Gregory Foo, looms as the foreigner to beat.
Jerome Ng, a member of the Putra Cup-winning Singaporean team in 2007, is also entered.
Irina Gabasa, the pint-sized wonder from Cebu, is the defending women?s champion.