The exclusive Cebu Country Club layout has been whipped to perfect championship shape, and the tree-lined layout will no doubt decide the Men’s Regular champion in the 72nd Philippine Airlines Interclub that tees off on Wednesday.
Mactan Island Golf is the second venue which the field will play in the middle two rounds on Thursday and Friday, and the military-operated layout will also be no easy picking even if it measures just over 6,000 yards from the championship tees.
The field, led by five-peat seeking Manila Southwoods, has started sampling both courses and most of the skippers agree that Mactan Island is a risk-reward type of a course while Cebu CC will be, hands-down, a tough one to conquer.
“It will all be decided on how the teams play the Country Club,” Southwoods’ Thirdy Escano said in a recent interview as he parades a team bannered by prolific Japanese teener Yuto Katsuragawa in a bid to duplicate Canlubang’s five straight championships two decades ago.
“But you also cannot take Mactan for granted,” he said.
Mactan GC has some ridiculously short par-5s and long par-4s, and talented players can attack them off the tees with the risk of playing out sideways if they miss the fairways and find the tree-lined roughs.
The Country Club, on the other hand, already has length, narrowness of the fairways and super-fast greens and is not expected to yield a lot of low scores even with the high level of talent present in the centerpiece Championship division.
Luisita won the Senior title last Saturday and Jeric Hechanova has assembled a team that has experience and youth in a bid to complete a rare sweep of both tournaments.
Rupert Zaragosa, the many-time national champion, will be playing as a Luisitan for the first time after several years as a Cangolf Sugar Baron. Luisita played its official practice round at Cebu CC on Sunday.
This year’s Interclub is sponsored by Radio Mindanao Network, Asian Air Safari, and Vanguard Radio Network. Also extending support are ABS-CBN Global Ltd. (The Filipino Channel), Rolls Royce, Primax Broadcasting Network, UM Broadcasting Network (Mindanao), Fox Sports, Cignal TV, GECAS, Boeing, Lufthansa Technik AG, Manila Standard, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, Dusit Thani Manila, and Casino Filipino. Official hotel is Quest Hotel Conference Center Cebu.