MANILA Southwoods guns for an unprecedented fourth straight title in the regular Men’s Championship division of the PAL Interclub as the tournament is played at two courses in Bacolod.
The country’s unofficial team golf championship starts on March 8 at Marapara and Binitin.
“It has never been done before, that’s why the boys are so motivated,” non-playing skipper Thirdy Escano said.
“The players have started practicing weeks before and some have even gone to Bacolod to sample the layouts,” Escano said, knowing well that Marapara and Binitin are courses that vary very much in character compared to the layouts his young squad is used to playing.
Canlubang ang defunct Aguinaldo are the only other teams that have won this event three straight years, with Escano part of that Agui team together with Bong Lopez and several others more than two decades ago.
And just when they had the chance to go for four, the team was suddenly disbanded.
“The club has thrown its full support to the team because we want them to achieve something—history,” said Escano, who helped touch off this streak as a player in Cebu three years ago.
“They all know what’s at stake and they can’t wait to get going.”
Japanese teen golfer Yuto Katsuragawa will spearhead Southwoods in its “Four-Peat” drive, with the former club champion planing in this week after completing academic requirements back home.
The veteran Jun Jun Plana will again be the steadying presence in the squad made up of mostly teenagers, acting the same role he had in Baguio when Southwoods completed a sweep of the Fil-Am Invitational.
“It’s going to be a tough battle,” Escano said as he braces for another tough fight with the Sugar Barons.
PAL president Jimmy Bautista will hit the ceremonial drive to usher in the event on Feb. 26, marking three official days of practice.
Seniors action gets the ball rolling on March 1 with Luisita as defending champion in the event that has are Primax Broadcasting, RMN and as Fox Platinum sponsors, while major sponsors are BusinessWorld Publishing, Rolls Royce, TV5, Philippine Standard.
Other sponsors include Boeing, Under Armour, Eton Properties and Asia Brewery.