As pro career beckons, Zaragosa hopes to make most of last stint with national team
JAKARTA—Rupert Zaragosa has finally made up his mind on turning pro.
The pint-sized, many-time national champion says he will do it next year and will relish the final big event in his storied amateur career as he helps Team Philippines win a medal—gold, if possible—in the Asian Games golf competitions here starting in a week.
“I feel that this is the best [national] team that I am involved in,” Zaragosa told the Inquirer Thursday after arriving together with teammates Luis Castro, Wei Wei Gao and another former PH champion in LJ Go. “We have a good chance at winning a medal, if not the championship.”
Not since Ramon Brobio in 1986 in Seoul has the Philippines won the golf gold in the Games, and not since the prodigious Miguel Tabuena in Guangzhou, China, in 2010 has the country landed a medal—a silver, behind Kim Min-wee of South Korea.
“We have a pretty good chance,” national coach Rick Gibson, the long-time PH resident and former Open champion, said. “We have a pretty solid team here.”
Brobio settled for the silver in his defense four years later in Beijing where flamboyant Japanese Shigeki Maruyama won.
Gerald Rosales also won silver in the 1998 edition in Bangkok and Michael Bibat owned the last of five PH medals in the sport after checking in third for the bronze in Doha 12 years ago.