Thirteen survivors of the SEA Games men’s team Stage I qualifier make their final charge for the coveted berths as Stage 2 of the grueling elims starts today at the Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac.
Reigning national junior champion and recent National pro-am winner Aidric Chan lived up to the hype – at least in the first phase – as he topped the 72-hole tournament last week to tow 12 others into the last final stretch of their spirited battle for the three berths in this year’s SEA Games national squad.
Though the Ateneo ace had built a three-stroke cushion with a 286 aggregate, he remained wary of his chances with the expected charge of the other bidders on the tough, hazard-laden course made more challenging by its unpredictable greens.
“They’re all great competitors and it made me even more motivated to play my best and work harder,” said Chan, referring to the likes of Carl Corpus, Luis Castro and Sean Ramos, who all pooled 289s after four rounds of play in the elims organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.
Gab Manotoc fought back with a final round 69 to get back into the thick of things at 290 but the rest will have to dish out low rounds in the next four days to get a shot at one of the three slots in the event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, the PLDT Group, Cignal and Metro Pacific and hosted by Luisita.
Edward Dy and Kristoffer Arevalo scored identical 296s, 10 shots off the pace, while Alexander Bisera, Paolo Wong and Ivan Monsalve all had 297s followed by Lanz Uy (299), Ryan Monsalve and Rolando Bregente, who assembled identical 303s.
The top three players after Stage 2 will banner the Philippine team in the SEA Games slated Nov. 30-Dec. 10 with the golf competitions also slated at the Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed layout, making the two-week qualifier a boost in terms of training and preparations for those who would make the team.