Cebu Country Club will field in a very formidable five to open up its repeat bid in the Philippine Airlines Interclub Men’s championship today while listing three other teams as possible title threats in the centerpiece event in Cebu City.
Young LJ Go and veteran campaigner Bayani Garcia will open up hostilities for the Cebuanos as the first 18 holes are played at the unpredictable Mactan Island Golf Club in Lapu-Lapu City, a layout where not even the CCC bets can claim familiarity with.
Carl Almario, a former pro, lawyer Jovi Neri and Mark Dy are the other starters for CCC, which will be shooting to win a second title and its first-ever repeat championship.
Cebu CC will be trying to get a good start in its efforts to repeat, hence the big starting lineup, even as the hosts have labeled Del Monte and Alabang as their biggest challengers and Southwoods as the darkhorse in the event.
“We want to make a statement early, we want to come up with an opening day effort that would announce that we are really dead serious in repeating as champions,” Cebu CC team official Jeric Hechanova said yesterday.
The starting five sampled the Mactan layout for the final time yesterday, and though they are all from this bustling city, they also cannot claim homecourt edge over the other teams.
“The best that we have over the other teams is that we have played Mactan maybe three times more than they have,” Hechanova said.
Championship division action will be held at Mactan and then the Cebu CC in the second and fourth rounds, and Hechanova has talked with confidence about having an even stronger five finishing hostilities for them on Saturday.
“What we want, if we get the strong start that we are aiming for, is to be able to come up with a steady lineup in the second and third rounds just to keep our lead,” Hechanova said. “And then we will have the strongest team in the final day.”
Del Monte, the 2011 champion at the Pueblo de Oro and Del Monte courses, still has basically the same lineup that finished second last year in Davao, save for Yoyong Velez, whose spot has been taken over by a 12-year-old.
Alabang is a young team that will be spearheaded by national pool mainstay Andres Saldana and teenagers Keanu Jahns and Gabriel Manotoc, while Southwoods has a sprinkling of both youth and experience.
The PAL Interclub is being sponsored by the Department of Tourism, 105.1 Crossover, Solar Sports, Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, 92.3 FM Radyo 5, Araneta Coliseum and AXN. Major sponsors are Airbus, Manila Broadcasting Corporation, Philippine Broadcasting Network, People Asia, Radio Mindanao Network, Business Mirror and ABS-CBN The Filipino
Corporate sponsors include Radisson Blu Hotel, Shangri-La Resort & Spa, Boeing, Inquirer Golf Magazine, Philippines Graphic and Manila Bulletin.(pr)