Seniors face challenges at Pueblo, Del Monte

Players have their photos taken by a caddie during a practice round for the 75th PAL Interclub golf tournament championships at the Del Monte Golf Club in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon on Tuesday.

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The fairways are rolling fast in both courses that will be used for the 75th Philippine Airlines Interclub golf team championships but senior participants will find reaching the greens challenging.

“You better use one club stronger in every approach,” said Dan Salvador III of Tagaytay Midlands who sampled the Pueblo de Oro Golf and Country Club on Monday. “The winds are heavy.”

Dry conditions make the fairways firm but Pueblo’s greens are unpredictable. Some are receptive and others are not.

Players, however, praise the pristine conditions of the greens at Pueblo and at the Del Monte Golf Club in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.

Groundskeepers at Pueblo did a good job rehabilitating the greens which a few months ago had brown patches.

While the bombers off the tee will have wider fairways to deal with at Pueblo, it is the opposite at the tree-lined old course known for being home to two of the country’s greatest golfers – Frankie Minoza and the late Celestino Tugot.

Dan Cruz said Del Monte favors players who hit their drivers straight.

“I spent a lot of times, punching shots under the trees,” he said during his practice round on Tuesday.

Julius Bautista, one of Del Monte’s top amateurs who will see action next week, said the greens are hard, advising players to hit it short and let the ball roll into the green.

“Puwede tirahin ang green kung ang pin nasa likod,” Bautista said.

The city rolled out the red carpet for the event’s diamond anniversary as it hosted a welcome dinner at the Mallberry Hotel on Monday.

Participants were treated to an evening of cultural dances highlighted by the performance of the city’s young dancesport athletes.

The seniors’ competition kicks off on Thursday with Luisita defending its title against the souped-up teams of Canlubang and Manila Southwoods, and the dangerous Del Monte squad.

The 75th staging of the PAL Interclub is supported by diamond sponsors Mastercard and Asian Journal.

Platinum sponsors include Airbus, Primax Broadcasting Network and Araw Hospitality while gold sponsors are Tanduay and Asia Brewery.

Joining the event as silver sponsors are ABS-CBN Global, Radio Mindanao Network and Philippine National Bank.

VISA is a minor sponsor while Must Glow is joining as a donor.

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