CEBU CITY – The 74th Philippine Airlines Men’s Interclub golf team championships get underway on Wednesday with a record eight teams seeing action in the championship division led by defending champion Manila Southwoods.
“This marks the first time that we have this many in the championship division,” said tournament director Henry Arabelo. “This could be because of the pandemic when many have used the time to improve their games. This is good news.”
Aside from Manila Southwoods, the other teams in the premier category are host Cebu Country Club, Del Monte Golf Club, Eastridge Golf Club, Pueblo de Oro, Sta. Elena, Tagaytay Highlands, and Valley Golf and Country Club.
Southwoods, however, remains the prohibitive favorite owing to a star-studded lineup led by pro-bound Kristoffer Arevalo, Gabriel Manotoc, and Josh Jorge.
The Carmona-based squad has won five of the last six stagings, including a 22-point victory over Del Monte in 2020.
CCC, the 2019 champion, looms as Manila Southwoods’ main threat.
Led by old hands Bayani Garcia, Eric Deen, Mark Dy, and Carl Almario, the host club is expected to use its home course advantage to spoil Southwoods’ title-retention bid.
Teams competing in the championship division will tee off starting at 10:45 a.m. at CCC.
Southwoods is paired with Del Monte, Eastridge, and Valley.
Twelve teams are entered in the Founders division, 20 in the Aviator, 20 in the Sportswriter, and 20 in the Friendship.
The annual event, held with the theme “Back to Ignite,” is supported by platinum sponsors ABS-CBN Global, Asian Journal, Airbus, and NUSTAR Resort and Casino.
Gold sponsors include Radio Mindanao Network, Mastercard, MemoRieS FM 89.9 Cebu, 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 the Department of Tourism, Ogawa, Newport World Resorts, Rolls Royce, and Boeing. (PR)