TRECE Martirez, Cavite – After just one round of the NGAP’s Philippine Amateur Closed golf championship, Tommy Manotoc believes that his two-year recruitment effort for the Putra Cup is well worth it.
“We have a solid team. We have players who can really play,” Manotoc said on Thursday afternoon, moments after watching men’s recruits Jonathan Delos Reyes and Rico Hoey tame the daunting Sherwood Hills course with a combined one-under-par 143.
Manotoc, a member of a several victorious Putra Cup teams in the past, wants to bring that title back to the Philippines when the country hosts the annual event from June 27-30 also in the well-manicured layout south of Manila.
“Recruiting these guys was a long process, it took me close to two years to get them here to play,” Manotoc said.
Delos Reyes and Hoey were both born from Filipino parents, with Delos Reyes playing on Philippine soil for the first time and the 17-year-old Hoey, whom the University of Southern California actively pursued, seeing action in the country for the first time in 12 years.
Though Delos Reyes nipped Hoey by a stroke for first-round honors on Thursday, both showcased games well beyond their years and got observers all excited over the Philippines' chances in Southeast Asia’s official golf championship.
Delos Reyes and Hoey will be in the men’s team together with Rupert Zaragosa and Jobim Carlos, and Delos Reyes, after seeing Zaragosa play for the first time, believes that the Philippines will have a solid team for the Putra Cup.
“That kid’s a player,” Delos Reyes said.
The Filipinos, who were practically untouched in the Putra Cup in the 1970s and well into the 1980s, last hoisted the championship trophy in 1996 in Myanmar.
And with the event returning to the country for the first time since 2007, Manotoc believes the Philippines is now armed to the teeth to regain lost glory.