MANILA Southwoods-Masters and Cebu Country Club renew their rivalry on Tuesday as the 11th Philippine Airlines Ladies Interclub golf team championship tees off at Camp John Hay Golf Club in Baguio City.
The SW-Masters squad is gunning for a record sixth straight title against a team it beat by an average of 2.5 points the last two years.
“It’s going to be tight, that’s for sure,” said SW-Masters playing captain Claire Ong.
Last year in Bacolod City, the SW-Masters rode Abby Arevalo’s 54 points to edge CCC by four points.
Arevalo won’t be around this week to defend her individual title, but SW-Masters will not be lacking in talent.
Pauline del Rosario, who finished a strong second behind pro Princess Superal in the Eagle Ridge Ladies Invitational of the Philippine Ladies Golf Tour last week, spearheads the defending champions.
Joining the 17-year-old Del Rosario are junior standouts Mikhaela Fortuna, Bernice Ilas and Sofia Chabon.
Fortuna, 15, and Ilas, 14, finished fourth and sixth, respectively at Eagle Ridge while Chabon, 15, is a member of last year’s champion team.
Completing the squad are holdovers Lora Roberto, Serafina Kim and Andrea Pineda.
The tournament has reverted to its old format of four-to-play, three-to-count over four rounds with each player limited to two rounds each.
Last year, the event was played in only two rounds with each team fielding eight players per round with the six best scores counting.
“We aim to field a balanced lineup each round. Our goal is to let everyone play in the first two rounds and take it from there,” said Ong.
CCC, which lost by a mere point two years ago in Cebu City, will miss the services of ace Lois Kaye Go, but can count on sisters Junia and Irina Gabasa for firepower.
The other members are playing captain Mary Kim Hong, Crystal Faith Neri, Riko Nagai, Catrina Martinez, Jyra Wong and Ryoko Nagai.
A total of 32 teams, including a squad from Papua New Guinea, are entered in the four-day event that also has the Founders, Sportswriters and Friendship divisions and is backed by Solar Entertainment Corp., Airbus, Business Mirror, Mareco Broadcasting Network, People Asia and Manila Broadcasting Corp. Other backers are Philippine Daily Inquirer, Fonterra, Mega Fiber, Mastercard, Tanduay Distillers and Zalora.