by Waylon Galvez
Filipino golfers will be aiming for titles as the national team starts its campaign in the World Amateur Golfers Championship (WAGC) World Finals set Oct. 20-28 in Johor, Malaysia.
A total of 15 players will represent the Philippines in the WAGC led by team captain Oliver Gan, a former junior golfer who will compete in the Division 1 after he ruled the national finals last month.
“We’re all excited and we’re ready to represent the Philippines in the WAGC. We prepared hard for this event,” said the 35-year-old Gan as the team left Saturday in time for the first practice round Sunday.”
“All of us are hoping to bring the championship in our respective divisions,” added Gan.
Aside from Gan, the other WAGC division champions in the Philippine that will compete in Johor are Antonio Pascua (Division 2), Joven Papio (Division 3), Eric Si (Division 4) and Danilo Odeste (Division 5).
The tournament formally starts Oct. 25, as the Philippines – for the second straight year – will compete against golfers from 45 other countries. Tony Payumo won last year in Division 1 WAGC.
This time, the 45-year-old Payumo will see action in the World Amateur Gofers Invitational with Vicky Herrera, Kirby Co, Ariel Vanguardia, Blake Go, Ted Arcenas and Mark Leviste.
“The tournament is the ultimate golfing experience for all kinds of golfers,” said Leviste, a former Batangas vice governor. “It’s an opportunity for amateur golfers like us to experience that Olympic-type setting that only professional golfers experience.”
Last year in Kuala Lumpur, the Philippines bagged the prestigious Tumba Trophy for sportsmanship, and captured three other awards including that of Payumo’s title in Division 1.
Up for grabs in the event are individual titles in the championship and invitational, as well as team events. The Championship team competition combines the best four scores (of five) per day from the national team, while the Invitational counts the combined total score of both team members.