Frankie Miñoza hopes to provide the leadership and experience as he reinforces an already-formidable Team South after the North squad in The Duel 3, which unwraps Wednesday at the Cebu Country Club.
Miñoza, the region’s former No. 1 player and winner of three local tournaments last year, is joining the country’s version of the Ryder Cup for the first time and his presence is expected to boost Team South’s confidence and stake in the three-day event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. featuring the top 24 players from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao in the current Order of Merit rankings of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
“Not only will Frankie’s presence add depth to the South team but also add prestige to the event,” said PGTI general manager Colo Ventosa, referring to the two-time Philippine Open champion who always makes it a point to lend his name and provide support to local golf whenever he is available.
“This promises to be another interesting showdown the way the first two editions went,” added Ventosa.
Team South rallied in the singles to rule the inaugural staging in 2012 at Alabang Country Club but the North squad struck last year, also in the singles, to even things up, making this week’s event a virtual decider.
But Team South looks tough on paper with reigning back-to-back OOM winner and current leader Tony Lascuña spearheading the squad along with fellow Davaoeño aces Elmer Salvador, Jay Bayron, Cassius Casas, Mhark Fernando, Jhonnel Ababa, Elmer Saban and Marvin Dumandan and Del Monte’s Clyde Mondilla and Miñoza.
Charles Hong, who topped the ICTSI Sherwood last month, is the other ace for Team South with the top Cebuano shotmaker expected to flash his familiarity with the flat but tight par-72 layout littered with bunkers that come into play in most holes and an unpredictable putting surface.
Hong honed his skills at CCC where he was a junior golfer since his grade school days and later became junior club champion and club champion before turning pro.
But the North squad is unfazed by its rival’s edge in manpower with three-time Asian Tour champion Angelo Que and young turk Miguel Tabuena heading the team that includes Carl Santos-Ocampo, Michael Bibat, Mars Pucay, Edward Reyes, Gerald Rosales, Benjie Magada, Jun Bernis, Randy Garalde, James Ryan Lam and Jun Rates, winner of the ICTSI John Hay leg last March.
Artemio Murakami will skipper the North team with Rogelio Laput Jr. as assistant while Team South will have Jerome Delariarte as captain for the second straight year with Rufino Bayron as his deputy.
Play will be foursomes (alternate shot) and fourball (best ball) – five matches each – in the first two days with the singles – 12 matches – slated in the final day. The first team to win 14 ½ points clinches the Duel.
Meanwhile, the traditional pro-am tournament will be held Tuesday featuring the leading pros and amateurs from the sponsoring International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and backers Nike Golf, Pacsports, Srixon, Callaway, Sharp, FootJoy, Mizuno, Callaway and Custom Clubmakers with Balls, ABS-CBN Sports+Action and Inquirer Golf as media partners.
The Duel 3 also serves as a break for the pros after five legs of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour with two Asian Development Tour events lined up on May 28-31 and June 4-7 at Riviera and Orchard, respectively.
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