CEBU CITY—Minus their biggest stars, defending champion Canlubang and longtime foe Luisita renew their rivalry for the Seniors crown of the 66th PAL Interclub golf tournament starting today with host Cebu expected to make it another three-way showdown.
Tommy Manotoc, the most dominant individual player since he qualified for the 55-year and above bracket in 2006, won’t be playing for six-time winner Canlubang due to an unstable blood pressure while Iggy Clavecilla, who has not fully recovered from a stroke last year, will serve as nonplaying captain for Luisita this time.
Although relegated to the Founders Division based on the PAL players average of the team, the Cebuanos can still emerge overall winners by posting the highest total output in the tournament which is being played here for the first time since 2001 with a 100-team field, 53 of them foreign squads.
Not only are the hosts familiar with both courses to be used, the Cebuanos have shown their potential by hounding Luisita in the first three days before placing third, five points behind eventual champion Canlubang and two off the Tarlac-based Luisitans in Davao last year.
Manotoc, the president of the National Golf Association of the Philippines who beat Cebu spearhead Montito Garcia for the individual title last year by a point, has been replaced by Philip Brodett, who recently won a Seniors tournament at Southwoods with brother Butch.
Bong Sison will take the place of Clavecilla for Luisita, which prevented what would have been a seven-year title run by Canlubang by prevailing in 2010.
Alta Vista, a hilly cart-only course, will host the first and final rounds of play in the Championship division along with the Friendship bracket. The second and third rounds will be held at the par-71 Club Filipino in Danao, Cebu, which is similar in character to Valley Golf Club in Antipolo, Rizal.
Club Filipino will play host to the Founders and the Sportswriters today and on the last day with Alta Vista taking its turn on the second and third rounds.
Play is preferred lie for four days with the two courses rendered soggy by an overnight rain brought by Tropical Depression Crising when it hit Mindanao Tuesday.