For first time in years, Seniors crown a toss-up
The Philippine Airlines (PAL) Interclub golf team championship gets a reboot in the Queen City of the South next week with the Seniors tournament that, unlike in recent years, is not a two-way race anymore.
“It’s wide open this year,” Tommy Manotoc, the grand old man of amateur golf and defending champion Canlubang stalwart, told the Inquirer over the phone Thursday. “The other teams are welcoming younger, longer [hitting] players, while we are growing older.”
The Sugar Barons will be looking to claim another crown for players 55 years old and above after the skirmishes at Cebu Country Club and Club Filipino, and Manotoc believes that Cangolf is the decided underdog this year behind bitter rival Luisita, Cebu Country Club and emerging force Manila Southwoods.
“They’ve had key additions, we remained intact,” Manotoc said. “We’re the weakest team among the four on paper, the only thing going for us is our experience.”
Manotoc and Rolly Viray, a pair of 73-year-olds, and Abe Rosal will be the cornerstones of the Sugar Barons, while Luisita will have its usual big guns and will be welcoming an Interclub rookie in 55-year-old Marty Ilagan.
Southwoods, meanwhile, showed its stock in the Fil-Am in Baguio by winning the centerpiece championship in December with a team built around Jun Jun Plana, Theody Pascual and Joseph Tambunting.
“We will be there fighting,” Pascual told the Inquirer before practice over the weekend. “We hope to be able to duplicate our performance in Baguio.”
The Regular Men’s championship will tee off the following week with Southwoods shooting for a seventh championship at Cebu Country Club and Club Filipino.
Considered to be the country’s unofficial team golf championship, the Interclub will be played for the first time since the pandemic in 2020, with over 1,500 total players seeing action.