SENIORS and Men’s action in the Philippine Airlines Interclub – like in every stop of the country’s longest running and most prestigious amateur team championship – will be held in two venues that have vastly different characters.
Del Monte in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, though, is where the titles in both divisions are expected to be clinched.
Pueblo de Oro in Cagayan de Oro will be the other site, and there, scores are expected to be low even though the well-manicured layout is the longer of the two courses.
“The trickiness of Del Monte will be the key,” Tommy Manotoc, the multi-titled amateur champion who will play for Canlubang in both divisions, said yesterday moments before practicing at Pueblo.
“It’s a straight-hitters’ course, which would demand a lot from players for them to score,” continued the 61-year-old former Asia-Pacific senior champion, referring to the gem laid out inside a vast pineapple plantation.
“Pueblo, on the other hand, is a long-hitters’ course that could be rewarding at times. But practically all of the players (in the field) can hit it long, that’s why Del Monte could be the turning point.”
The field will play Pueblo and Del Monte twice in four days, and the final format of the event will be known in today’s captains’ meeting, though Manotoc said that the initial format was for Pueblo-Del Monte-Del Monte-Pueblo.
Last year, the format had the difficult Marapara layout hosting the second and fourth days, with Luisita clinching the Senior diadem through the heroics of Francis Gaston, who beat Manotoc by four strokes.
The Seniors competition will take the lid off of the 64th edition of the Interclub starting tomorrow, with Men’s action to follow on Feb. 23 where Canlubang will aim to win the event an unprecedented sixth straight time.
Luisita will be fielding practically the very same team that upset the Sugar Barons in senior play last year, and the division is expected to be a toss-up between just two teams unlike in Men’s play where a lot of squads can contend because of the new rules.
Del Monte is the prohibitive pick this early, owing to its players’ familiarity of the layout. Del Monte also won its first and by far only title in 2004, when Northern Mindanao first hosted the Interclub.
This year’s competition is backed by platinum sponsors Boeing, Airbus, Radio Mindanao Network, Business Mirror and Interactive Broadcast Media (DWWW). Major sponsors are People Asia, 105.1 Crossover, GE Aviation and Traversing the Orient.
Also lending support are corporate sponsors Manila Bulletin and Bombo Radyo Philippines, while minor sponsors are Lufthansa TechnikPhilippines, MasterCard and Century Park Hotel. Prize donors include Panasonic Avionics and Tanduay.
More detailed information on the tournament is available on the dedicated PAL Interclub webpage at www.philippineairlines.com/events/events.jsp.(PR)