Jobim Carlos hopes to cap a remarkable amateur career with another victory in the country’s premier golf championship – the Philippine Amateur (Stroke Play) Open which unwraps Jan. 5 at the Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club’s Aoki course in Gen. Trias, Cavite.
Carlos outgunned Rupert Zaragosa in a thrilling backside duel to capture the crown last year with the former University of San Francisco standout going all-out for a repeat and the needed boost to his much-awaited pro campaign starting February.
The ace shotmaker was actually set to join the pro ranks last year, even topping the Philippine Golf Tour Qualifying School but decided to stay as an amateur and further hone up for the grueling campaign in the big league.
He made the grade again in last month’s PGT Q-School and teamed up with Inigo Raymundo to pocket the NGAP National Doubles Amateur crown at Aguinaldo last week.
But Carlos will be facing a crack field in the upcoming 72-hole championship serving as the kickoff leg of this year’s PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, Smart, PLDT and Metro Pacific Investment Corp. with Zaragosa and 2014 winner LJ Go leading the local challenge.
Koreans Jun Jhon, Nam Kyung Woo, Lee Geon, Lim Soo Min and Kang Dong Guk, on the other hand, banner the equally strong foreign cast that also includes Tom Ferguson of the US, Leon Philip D’Souza of Hong Kong, Singapore’s Timothy Russell, Toshinori Iwasaki of Japan and Cameron Imber.
Other local aces joining the event organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines and hosted by Eagle Ridge GCC are Jelbert Gamolo, Carlo Gatmaytan, Jama Reyes, Cebuano brothers Wei Wei Gao and Weiyu Gao, Migs Guerrero, Rocky Brobio, Bong Brobio, Jolo Magcalayo, GH Katigbak, Aidric Chan, Ira Alido Ivan Monsalve, Ryan Monsalve and Raymundo.
Still, focus will be on Carlos, who cashed in on a two-shot swing on No. 15 – a birdie against Zaragosa’s bogey – en route to posting a three-stroke victory last year, also at Aoki.
But Zaragosa, a junior champion, is also raring to get back at Carlos and re-stake his claim as the country’s leading amateur with the Lyceum standout also out to atone for his dismal seventh place finish, with Joey Magcalayo, in the recent National Doubles.
The top 50 players after two rounds will advance to the final 36 holes.