MORE than any team in the Putra Cup field, the Philippines enjoys a slight edge in what is expected to be a tight battle for Southeast Asia’s official team golf championship mainly because of its familiarity with the toughened-up Sherwood Hills layout in Trece Martirez, Cavite.
The windswept gem south of Manila will be in its toughest form for the 72-hole championship with organizers stretching total yardage to 7,300, the greens made even faster and the roughs being grown to heights that will punish wayward drives.
“It’s going to be a tough scoring course,” National Golf Association of the Philippines president Tommy Manotoc said. “The set-up of Sherwood would require nothing but the best from everyone in the field.
“And that is where course familiarity could help our national teams,” Manotoc added. “After playing here in tournament conditions, the players know the course better. But knowing the bounces won’t help if our players don’t hit it well.”
Caloy Coscoluella, the NGAP vice president, who is overseeing preparations of the course together with Mike Carr, said that the speed of the greens would be at around 11 on the stimpmeter when tournament day comes.
The event tees off on Thursday and the Filipinos will be trying to win the Putra Cup for the first time since 1996 with a team spearheaded by newly crowned national champion Rupert Zaragosa.
Filipino-Americans Rico Hoey and Jonathan Delos Reyes, NCAA standouts recruited from the United States, and MVP Sports Foundation scholar Jobim Carlos complete the four-man men’s team, which will try to regain the crown from Thailand.
Regina De Guzman and Simone Hoey, who are both recovering from different illnesses, and Katrina Briones make up the ladies squad for the Philippines in the event supported by the PLDT Amateur Golf Tour, PSC, POC, PGF, DOT, Asia Brewery, Turf Company, Sligo, Ping, Intramachineries Doosan, Suntrust, Crimson Hotel and Golf Depot.