JEROME Ng, the mild-mannered spearhead of the Singapore national team, opens defense of his Philippine Amateur Open golf championship starting on Monday when the 72-hole event presented by the MVP Sports Foundation fires off at Wack Wack East.
The entire Singaporean squad will be present even as Tonlits Asistio, the former pro and multi-titled amateur, makes his big individual comeback in the event forming part of the PLDT Group Amateur tour and backed by Pancake House, Golf Depot and Pacsports.
Jobim Carlos, a member of the victorious Philippine side that regained the Putra Cup last year, will banner the local challenge in the absence of fellow national Rupert Zaragosa, the pint-sized wonder from Canlubang who failed to get a leave from school.
Johnson Poh, Abdul Hadi and Marc Ong are the other Singaporeans in the roster even as a handful of Korean expats are also entered together with reigning 13-14 Junior World champion Kristopher Arevalo and veteran campaigner Andres Saldana.
Foreigners have won the PH Am for the last three years, with Singaporeans ruling the last two. Gregory Foo, whose mother is from the Philippines, ruled the event in 2012.
Incidentally, the event will also serve as the kickoff leg of the organizing National Golf Association of the Philippines’ series that would determine members of the PH team who will play in three major international events this year counting the World Am in Japan.
“Aside from the world ranking points in R&A-sanctioned tournaments that players gain in tournaments here and abroad, our events like the Philippine Am will help the NGAP determine our national players this year,” NGAP president Tommy Manotoc said.
Last year, Ng posted a winning total of 300 as no player cracked par under difficult conditions at the fabled layout, which is also home to the Philippine Open.
The set-up for this year will most likely be the same, making par a great score any day.