Manila Southwoods will play in the Championship division of the Philippine Airlines Interclub Senior tournament for the first time next week when the 74th edition gets going in Cebu, and despite winning a title from a similar team tournament last year, the Carmona-based squad is not looking at itself as a solid title contender.
“We are balanced, but not deep,” non-playing skipper Freddie Mendoza said. And when pressed to assess his squad’s chances against traditional powers Canlubang and Luisita, he said: “Our first four is solid, but our last four is iffy at best.”
Southwoods won the Founders Division the last time the Interclub was played before the pandemic, and with the club welcoming Jun Jun Plane into the ranks after a stories Regular Men’s career, expectations are naturally high—especially after winning the Fil-Am in Baguio last December.
National flag carrier Philippine Airlines is the organizer of this prestigious international sporting event which brings players from various countries in PAL’s global network.
“That had a very different format,” Mendoza said, referring to the Fil-Am’s five-to-play, four-to-count format for four days. The Interclub will have eight players per team, with only four players seeing action and the top three scores counting. Players are also limited to playing only two rounds.
Two rounds each at Alta Vista and Club Filipino will be played, and Southwoods stalwart Thirdy Escaño believes that the difference will lie at Club Filipino because of its unpredictable bounces and blind holes.
“If you’re used to playing perfectly-conditioned courses, this will be a very different feel for a lot of players,” Escaño said. “That’s where teams like Luisita and Canlubang have the edge.”
The annual event, considered the country’s unofficial national team championship, was shelved for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the 74th staging of the event is supported by platinum sponsors ABS-CBN Global, Asian Journal, Airbus, and NUSTAR Resort and Casino.
Gold sponsors include Radio Mindanao Network, Mastercard, Primax, University of Mindanao Broadcasting Network, PLDT/Smart, and Konsulta MD.
Joining the event as silver sponsors are Philippine National Bank (PNB), Biocostech, and VISA.
Minor sponsors are Bollore Logistics, Manila Standard, Tanduay Brands International, and Asia Brewery while donors are Department of Tourism, Ogawa, Newport World Resorts, Rolls Royce, and Boeing. (PR)