INSPIRED by the success of the country’s golf team in the recent Asian Games, the Philippine squad to the World Amateur Golfers Championships (WAGC) World Finals left for Johor Bahru, Malaysia brimming with high hopes.
Team captain Oliver Gan, who topped the National Finals, led the Fiipino contingent that departed for the Malaysian state on Saturday, together with Antonio Pascua, Joven Papio, Eric Si, and Danilo Odeste as they make up the team seeing action in the Championship division of the meet that attracted 45 countries.
Gan, the former jungolf standout and now NCR program officer of the Philippine Sports Institute under the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), will serve as team captain.
Meanwhile, Tony Payumo spearheads the PH team vying in the World Amateur Golfers Invitational (WAGI) along with Blake Go, Vicky Herrera, Ted Arcenas, Kirby Co, Mark Sioson, Mark Leviste, and Ariel Vanguardia.
Payumo, 45, emerged as Division 1 champion in last year’s Invitationals, one of three individual championships brought home by the country during its inaugural campaign in the annual tournament.
“Malaking bagay yung pagkakapanalo ng ating ladies team sa Asian Games,” said Leviste, the former Batangas vice-governor, who will also be the country’s flagbearer, in referring to individual champion Yuka Saso and the rest of the women’s team of Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go which delivered two golds for the country during the last Asiad in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“And katatapos lang din ng Ryder Cup, which we know is a team event in the sport of golf, and the WAGC is also a team event,” he added. “So when we reach the world finals, everybody is at a high particularly Team Philippines because we hope to continue the success and momentum of our more prominent and successful players.”
Besides the titles won by Payumo and Co., the country was also given the Tumba Trophy, named after WAGC founder and three-sport icon Sven Tumba. The award is given to the team that promotes ‘Friendship and Business.’
Participants will vie for the titles in the championship, invitational, individual, and team events.
The Championship Team competition combines the best four scores (out of five) of players per day, while the Invitational counts the combined total score of both team members.