A hundred teams led by the formidable Canlubang and Luisita sides, will tee off on Thursday as Seniors action kicks off the 67th playing of the Philippine Airlines Interclub golf championship in two courses in Bacolod City.
The Sugar Barons will gun for an eighth championship overall and fourth straight and they will try to pull it out even with Tommy Manotoc likely to sit it out for the second straight year and arch-rival Luisita unveiling a new find.
Luisita, the most dominant senior squad before Canlubang won seven of the last eight editions, will be parading former touring pro Eddie Bagtas this year, giving the Tarlac-based squad added teeth.
The last time Luisita won this event, interestingly enough, was also in Bacolod four years ago as Francis Gaston, the former national and senior champion, out dueled Manotoc in a final flight to remember.
Marapara and Binitin will again play hosts even in the Men’s Regular event that starts Feb. 26.
Cebu Country Club will be gunning for a third straight championship in the centerpiece division but not with the same powerhouse squad that won the last two in Cebu last year and in Davao in 2012.
This year’s Interclub is being sponsored by CrossOver with Boeing, Philippines Graphic, Stargate Media (People Asia) and Rogue as corporate backers. Also lending support are Airbus, Business Mirror, One Mega Group (Travel Now), Philippine Broadcasting Corporation, Manila Broadcasting Corporation and Manila Bulletin.
A total of 77 teams – some of them coming from the United States, the Middle East, Australia and Canada, are entered in the Men’s division.
Mark Dy turned pro last year and Lloyd Jefferson Go, who won the NGAP’s Philippine Amateur championship last month, is in the United States on a golfing scholarship.
Cebu CC, incidentally, is looming as the darkhorse in the Senior championship with a team backstopped by Montito Garcia, Clifford Celdran and Jeric Hechanova.