Golfers kick off medal drive vs Koreans, Thais
Lois Kaye Go and Yuka Saso
JAKARTA, Philippines —
A team of young players full of potentials will carry the country’s hopes to nail a first Asian Games golf gold medal in 32 long years here.
The Pondok Indah Golf Course is a paradise at the heart of the city where four Phl men’s and three women’s golfers launch a quest for the Asiad gold that the Philippines has never since Ramon Brobio ruled the men’s individual play in Seoul in 1986.
Tee-off starts at 6 p.m. today in the first round of the 72-hole competition at the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed layout that is much like the Sta. Elena course in terms of makeup and character to the liking of the Phl team.
Luis Miguel Castro, Weiwei Go, Lloyd Jefferson Go and Rupert Zaragosa make up the men’s squad while Lois Kaye Go, Bianca Isabel Pagdanganan and Yuka Saso compose the women’s team. Both are tipped to be strong medal contenders.
The men compete in a four-to-play, three-to-count format. For the women, it’s three to play, two to count.
“Among the teams we’ve had in years, to my recollection, this is the team with the best chance to win,” said Phl non-playing captain Bones Floro.
“The team is well prepared, with the players having played many tournaments abroad,” added Floro of the players trained no less by former Canadian and Japan Golf Tour campaigner Rick Gibson, a one-time Philippine Open champ.
All the players are on top of their respective games, especially the women, with Go and Pagdanganan doing well with their US NCAA teams and Saso being the champion of the 2018 Philippine Ladies Open.
Saso is said to be a very seasoned 17-year-old player, who had posted two victories in the ladies pro circuit back home. The talented Fil-Japanese also barely lost in a playoff in the inaugural Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific Championship last February.
Pagdanganan, 20, is fresh from a title run with Univ. of Arizona in the US NCAA. The former Philippine Junior Open and Phl Ladies Am champ played a key role with a crucial eagle in their semifinal win over Baylor.