By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
The Philippine golf team’ title-retention bid hit a snag on Tuesday, Sept. 19, after the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC) denied the country’s request of a change in lineup for the 19th Asian Games set to start this weekend.
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the National Golf Association of the Philippines (NGAP) appealed to organizers to replace Princess Superal with Chanelle Avaricio after the former reportedly dropped out due to conflict of schedule with her scheduled pro tournaments.
Organizers only allow replacements on account of medical reasons.
This leaves the PH women’s team with only two players in Lois Kaye Go and Rianne Malixi in the three-to-play, two-to-count format of the team event.
The men’s team, meanwhile, remains intact with pro golfers Clyde Mondilla and Ira Alido, top amateur golfer Aidric Chan and Carl Corpus.
But pressure is on the women’s team, who delivered two of the country’s four gold medals in the 2018 edition in Indonesia.
Go was part of the squad that won the women’s team gold along with Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan, with Saso also claiming the women’s individual gold.
Pagdanganan also won the bronze in women’s individual.
Saso has long chosen the Japanese citizenship in what her team described as a major career move, but reports said the 2021 US Women’s Open champion would not compete in the Asian Games for Team Japan.
The 16-year-old Malixi is currently ranked No. 77 in the World Amateur Rankings and was known to have reached the finals of the US Girls Junior Championships. She also finished fourth in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia last May.
Go, for her part, came in sixth in the SEAG.