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Zaragosa back in golfing groove

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The summer break has done wonders for 18-year-old golf prodigy Rupert Zaragosa whose confidence dipped after spending more time reading books than swinging his clubs.

“He’s hitting the ball better,” said Boyet Zaragosa, his father and current national coach.

Named to the national team for the Southeast Asian Games in August in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia , Rupert has been spending his waking hours at the Canlubang Golf and Country Club to improve his swing that has gone south due to idleness.

The last three years had been difficult for Rupert as far as his golf career was concerned.

Since he entered college at Lyceum-Cavite, Rupert’s golf had been reduced to once a week.

“Nasa school siya from Monday to Saturday. Kaya Sunday lang siya nakakapaglaro,” Rupert said. “Paminsan minsan nakakapalo sa driving range pag may oras.”

The distance from home in Canlubang to school in General Trias, Cavite is a good one and a half hours.

“Malimit gabi na siya nakakauwi,” Boyet said.

Despite the handicap, Rupert booked a third and possibly final trip to the Games following tryouts held at Sherwood, Riviera and Canlubang.

Candidates were made to play four rounds in each of the course and were chosen based on their best eight rounds.

Aside from Rupert, Wei Wei Gao, Carl Corpuz and United States-based Paulo Wong made it to the team with Jolo Magdalayo serving as alternate.

Rupert, who won the national championship at the age of 13 on his way to 12 domestic titles, hopes to turn pro after his graduation next year.

Completing the all-teen lineup for the Games are the women’s squad composed of Yuka Sato, Harmie Constantino and US-based Lois Kaye Go.

Go, who attends Boston College, failed to join the tryouts, but was taken in after only Sato and Constantino made the grade pegged at two-over for eight rounds.

It marks the first time the Philippines is fielding an all-teen squad in the Games.

Caloy Coscolluela, president of the National Golf Association of the Philippines (NGAP), said they hope to contend for medals after being shut out two years ago in Singapore.

“Malakas ang women’s team natin,” said Coscolluela.

The last time the country won the gold in the Games came in 2013 in Myanmar where Princess Superal and company swept the women’s event.

Superal has since turned professional.

Except for Wong, the men’s team will compete in two tournaments in Malaysia this month.

While there, Boyet said they hope to play a practice round at The Mines Resort City Golf Club, venue of the Games.

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