Pint-sized Rupert Zaragosa shoots for the big one
JAKARTA—Rupert Zaragosa has come a long way from being dismissed as a mere novelty for Canlubang in the Philippine Airlines Interclub two years ago.
The pint-sized, 14-year-old is now the reigning national Men’s and Boys’ amateur golf champion and is now preparing even harder to conquer new ground.
“I’m really pushing myself for this tournament like I have never pushed myself before,” Zaragosa told the Inquirer in Filipino in an overseas interview Wednesday, less than two weeks before golf action in the 26th Southeast Asian Games tees off here.
“This means a lot to me and to my family,” added the 5-foot Zaragosa. “Being able to represent the Philippines in the SEA Games is a big thing in itself. I don’t want to waste the opportunity.”
Zaragosa, part of an all-rookie team for the Philippines here, goes through a daily five-hour short game training, hitting hundreds of balls in the range and stamina workout.
“We (Philippine Team) played the course last week and it is tough, but conquerable,” Zaragosa said of the New Course of the Jagorawi Golf and Country Club. “Scores will be under par, definitely. But not that low,” he said.
Zaragosa, Art Arbole, Clyde Mondilla and Jobim Carlos are first-timers in the competition but all are international tournament-tested with Zaragosa and Carlos enjoying recent success.
Carlos topped the Montecillo Cup last year in Lipa City, while Zaragosa won the Callaway Junior World championship in San Diego last year.
But when tee time comes, all four will be serving the common goal of helping boost the Philippine cause with a gold.