John Kier Abdon won’t be around, but Orchard Golf and Country Club remains confident that it will defend the Philippine Airlines (PAL) Men’s Interclub title on Feb. 25-28 in Cebu Country Club and Club Filipino Incorporada de Cebu.
Abdon, who played a vital role in Orchard’s maiden victory last year in Bacolod, has turned professional, but the rest of the squad will be back for a possible back-to-back crown.
“We’re ready and raring to go,” said Raymund Sangil, who reverted to amateur to lead Orchard last year.
“Abdon is a big loss, but we are looking for a talented replacement,” said Sangil who mentioned Kristoffer Arevalo, a member of the national pool.
Sangil said they are inquiring if Arevalo, a rookie, can take the place of Abdon.
“If not, there are still a few names on our list,” said Sangil.
Aside from Sangil, the other members of the victorious squad going to Cebu are King Stehmeier, Ace Stehmeier, Niko Santiano, JP de Claro, Rodel Mangulabnan, TJ Benitez, Aian Arcilla and Paul Salvador.
Sangil said they have been preparing since October, playing together at least once a week.
“We have developed chemistry and there is team camaraderie,” he said.
Sangil said he expects Cebu Country Club (CCC) to provide a stiff challenge because of course familiarity.
Seventy-six teams, including 30 international squads, are entered in the four-day, four division event.
Before the 68th edition of the unofficial national golf team event, the seniors’ tournament will be played Feb. 19-22 at the MactanIsland golf course and Club Filipino de Cebu.
Defending champion Luisita heads the 89-team cast, half of which comes from overseas.
The tournament was originally scheduled in Cagayan de Oro, but was moved to Cebu due to public clamor.
Hotel H20, Travelife, Boeing International Corp. and Business Mirror are sponsoring the twin events. Other backers include Mareco Broadcasting Network (Crossover), People Asia Magazine, Whealth Inc., Aerospace, Tanduay Distillers and Intercontinental Manila.