Tommy Manotoc confident of all-rookie men’s golf team

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JAKARTA—Playing at home has its advantages—and downsides at the same time.

This is what Philippine golf delegation head Tommy Manotoc thinks could work against the Indonesians when fairway action in the 26th Southeast Asian Games tees off in two weeks at the Jagorawi Golf and Country Club.

“They are going to make the course super tough, and I like that because it takes away local knowledge from them (Indonesians),” Manotoc told the Inquirer in an overseas call. “It levels the playing field, so to speak.”

From what Manotoc had gathered, organizers will make the greens super fast, the roughs ultra thick and the fairways just 20 yards wide on most holes, making the New Course of the 45-hole complex truly one tough nut to crack.

“If they do that, you can’t spray shots everywhere. You have to be a precision-hitter to earn an advantage. And that will be the same play required for everyone. And we have the players who can do that,” he explained.

The men’s team will be an all-rookie squad made up of Art Arbole, Clyde Mondilla, Jobim Carlos and pint-sized wonder Rupert Zaragosa, the reigning Men’s and Boys’ national champion.

“It has the firepower to play against the best of the region,” Manotoc said of the men’s squad. “I am still hopeful that we could land a medal, but you have to remember, this is the SEA Games and the pressure will be great.”

And while Manotoc is keeping his fingers crossed on what the men could achieve, he has high hopes for the women, which will be bannered by the Philippines’ most seasoned, decorated amateurs in Dottie Ardina, Andy Unson and Chihiro Ikeda.

“I expect the ladies to defend their crown successfully and Chihiro to retain the individual championship,” Manotoc said of the ICTSI squad coached by Bong Lopez.

“They have earned a lot of experience through the years and their win in 2009 has toughened them more.”

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