Matthew Abalos moves up in division play, ready to test his mettle against the best in the ranks as he teams up with Kristine Torralba in the National Doubles Amateur Golf Championship firing off tomorrow at Camp Aguinaldo Golf Club.
With Don Petil as partner, they ruled Group II last year, beating the Riggs Illescas-Pierre Ticzon pair by five.
With Torralba, Abalos hopes to draw solid backup from a player who bagged the low amateur honors in the recent ICTSI South Forbes Invitational of the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.
But they will be in for a tough outing against 18 other talented pairs, guaranteeing a fierce showdown for top honors in the seventh staging of the annual season-ending championship organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.
They include many-time national champion Rupert Zaragosa, who will be teaming up with Adrian Romero; former pro Eddie Bagtas, who will be with son Leandro; national mainstay Harmie Constantino, who will partner with Joseph Orbito; and sisters Nikki and Sam Bruce.
Petil will now link up with Paolo Wong, while other pairs include Aldo Barro-Paqo Barro, Dan Cruz-Luis Guerrero, Santino Diokno-Miguel Roque, Carlo Gatmaytan-Rocky Brobio, Annika Guangko-David Guangko;
GJ Katigbak-Mike Kim, Clare Legaspi-Felicia Medalla, Sofia Legaspi-Mariel Tee, Aniceto Mandanas-Carlo Quimson, Sean Ramos-Jed Dy, and Sunshine Zhang-Laurea Duque.
The event, sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation and serving as pair of the PLDT Group National Amateur Tour, also serves as part of the field’s buildup for the Philippine Amateur Golf Championship slated Jan. 4-7 at Riviera’s Golf Club’s Couples course in Silang, Cavite.
Keen competition in the premier Group I play is expected right in the first day, a four-ball (best ball) tournament with format shifting to aggregate in the second day. The final round will feature the deciding two-ball foursome (alternate shot).
Meanwhile, Ticzon teams up with Allan Crisostomo as they head the Group II (handicap of 4.1 and above) roster that includes Guilbert Purcia IV and Guilbert Purcia Sr., Rald Sarmiento and Masaichi Otake, and Jose Wenceslao and Lido De Guzman.
The Boom Coscolluela-Joey Anciano, Jay Carrion-Jere Fregil, and Edwin Abesamis-Hermie Salibio tandems, meanwhile, lead the Group III field for players 30 years old and above regardless of handicap.