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Putra Cup on; PH out to end long drought

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TRECE MARTIREZ, Cavite—Jobim Carlos gets going first and Rupert Zaragosa  tees off last behind the two Fil-American rookies as Team Philippines launches its bid to end a 17-year title drought in the Putra Cup golf championship starting today at windswept Sherwood Hills here.

Carlos can go very low, Rico Hoey and Jonathan Delos Reyes are steady as rocks and Zaragosa can shoot the lights out on any day as the quartet tries to live up to its billing as one of the strongest national squads formed for what is officially  known as Southeast Asia’s golf team championship.

Carito Villaroman, the non-playing PH skipper, said he has high hopes for the Filipinos after overseeing his boys’ last practice round yesterday.

“We have a very promising team because of the very skilled set of players representing us,” said Villaroman, a former World Junior champion and member of the winning 1987 Putra Cup team in Indonesia.

“This could be the year (we end the drought).”

Snapping the long spell won’t be a walk in the park, however, with Malaysia represented by possibly the finest amateur in the region in Gavin Green and defending champion Thailand bringing in a rock-solid squad led by 65th-ranked Sansaksin Poom.

Singapore, the 2011 champion, will be bannered by reigning DHL Am champ Jerome Ng.

Women’s action also gets underway with Regina De Guzman, Simone Hoey and Katrina Briones making up the Philippine squad. Much is expected of De Guzman after conquering the ravine-filled layout in the recent PH Amateurs.

The 72-hole event is being backed by the MVP Sports Foundation, PLDT Amateur Golf Tour, PSC, POC, Philippine Golf Foundation, DOT, Pancake House, Asia Brewery, Turf Company, Sligo, Ping, Intramachineries Doosan, Suntrust, Crimson Hotel and Golf Depot.

The performance of the men’s team in the PH Am has fanned the hopes of the country, with Zaragosa leading a 1-2-3-4 finish and the squad submitting sub-par scores each round on Sherwood Hills.

Ng is no stranger to giving the Philippines headaches in the Putra Cup, debuting in 2007 in Singapore at the Bhukit course as a 20-year-old and winning the individual title while steering the home squad past the Filipinos.

“It’s going to be very exciting,” said Hoey, the 17-year-old from the University of Southern California.“We’re looking forward to putting on a good show.”


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