Rupert Zaragosa, Ira Alido head home bets as Philippine Amateur Open Championship tees off
Ira Alido and at least 90 others battle for the Philippine Amateur Open title.

RUPERT Zaragosa, Ira Alido, Aidric Chan and Jelbert Gamolo head the cast in the Philippine Amateur Open Golf Championship starting on Thursday at Riviera’s Couples course in Silang, Cavite.

Yuto Katsuragawa, the 18-year-old Japanese mainstay of Manila Southwoods in various interclub tournaments, leads the foreign players including golfers from Malaysia, Taiwan, Ireland, Korea, Hong Kong, Guam, England, Thailand and the US.

Ninety-one players are in the men’s list but the organizing National Golf Association of the Philippines said a big number of entries are still looking to get into the four-day tournament.

Alos seeing action are Kristoffer Arevalo, Luis Castro, Dan Cruz, JP De Claro, Jed Dy, Weiwei Gao, Nik Gatmaytan, Gab Manotoc, Ryan Monsalve, Don Petil, Paolo Wong, Carlo Villaroman and Jolo Magcalayo.

Focus is on the in-form Katsuragawa after he anchored Southwoods’ title romp in the Fil-Am Championship.  The Japanese player also won with Carl Corpus in last week’s National Doubles Championship.

Other foreign players in the field are Korea’s Lee Min Jun, Jang Young Cheol, Jeon Jeong Hyun and Lee Seong Hyeon, Taiwan’s Chiu Han-Wei, Malaysian Chan Tuck Soon, Leo Connolly of Ireland, Takuya Kawamura, also of Japan, Robby Manalo and Masaki Ujiie of Guam, Marc Newman of UK and Jaycue Vales of the US.

A wide-open race is also seen in the women’s side of the 72-hole championship although focus will be on Yuka Saso and Harmie Constantino, who both posted victories in the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.

Also vying for honors are Missy Legaspi, Lois Go, Diana Araneta, Nicole Abelar, Bianca Pagdanganan, Sam Bruce and Kristine Torralba.

Malaysia’s Nur Durriyah Damian is also playing, along with with Thailand’s Pajaree Anannarukaen and Koreans Park San Hee, Yang Ju Young and Yeun Jae Baek in the event held under the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, Smart and Metro Pacific Investment Corp.

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