STRETCHED to around 7,300 yards, with its greens expected to go as fast as 11 on the stimpmeter and the roughs grown several inches to penalize errant shots, Sherwood Hills in Trece Martirez, Cavite will be in its toughest form for the Putra Cup teeing off on Thursday.
The ravine-filled layout South of Manila will be the venue of Southeast Asia’s official team golf championship, and Philippine team head Tommy Manotoc believes familiarity with the layout would favor the Filipinos in their quest to end a 17-year drought.
“It’s going to be tough for everyone to score here,” Manotoc said. “The course will demand precision and length from everyone. Our players will have a slight advantage because they know Sherwood so well. But they still have to come out with their A-Games.”
NGAP vice-president Caloy Coscoluella is supervising the preparations of the golf course with the assistance of Mike Carr.
“There’s practically no room for error once the tournament starts,” Coscoluella said. “The roughs will be unforgiving.”
The 72-hole championship, which the Philippines last won in 1996 in Myanmar, has been an elusive target for the Filipinos in the last two decades.
Reigning national champion Rupert Zaragosa spearheads the men’s squad, which will also have Fil-American recruits Rico Hoey and Jonathan Delos Reyes and Jobim Carlos, a University of San Francisco scholar of the MVP Sports Foundation.
Sherwood Hills was named earlier in the year as the National Golf Association of the Philippines’ official home and both the men’s and ladies’ squads have played official tournaments at the course.
Meanwhile, Regina de Guzman and Simone Hoey are both recovering from separate illnesses but are expected to be ready for the start of the event. De Guzman had her right knee cheked, while Hoey suffered food poisoning last week.
Katrina Briones, another Fil-American recruit, is the third member of the ladies’ team.
Men’s play is four-to-play three-to-count, while the ladies tournament features three players each with the top two scores counting in the event backed by the PLDT Amateur Golf Tour, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Golf Foundation, Department of Tourism, Asia Brewery, Turf Company, Sligo, Ping, Intramachineries Doosan, Suntrust, Crimson Hotel and Golf Depot.