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Meet Northwoods’ Alpha Kids

Junior golfers are slowly making their mark in the 72nd Fil-Am Men’s Invitational which has been a spawning ground for future champions.

This week is no exception.

Meet the Alpha Kids of Royal Northwoods competing in the Am-Championship, a division reserved for single-handicappers.

On Wednesday, the team gave a good account of itself, posting 103 points at the Baguio Country Club to come in second, 16 points behind Manila Southwoods Team 2.

To put it in proper perspective, the 103 points at BCC is remarkable, considering that the best score last week among the senior team in the same division was 106 by Manila Southwoods Team 2.

Fifteen-year-old Santino Pineda is the team captain. He started playing the Fil-Am at the age of 10, making him the only “veteran” on the team.

Zach Villaroman, the 15-year-old son of renowned coach Carito, is playing at the Fil-Am for the first time like the rest of the team.

Also seeing actions are 14-year-old Patrick Gene Tambalque and a pair of 13-year-olds in Tristan Jefferson Padilla and Rajah Crisostomo.

Pineda is a Grade 9 student of Beacon Academy, Castro is Grade 7 at Meridian International Learning Experience, Tambalque is Grade 8 at the Living Learning Homeschool.

Tristan Jefferson Padilla is Grade 8 at De la Salle Zobel and Villaroman attends the Southville International School.

All are veterans of numerous international junior tournaments, including the prestigious Junior World in San Diego.

The San Rafael-Bulacan-based club, owned by the Pancho family, has been a consistent supporter of junior golf, hosting several top players including superstar Rianne Mikhaela Malixi.

While many juniors have played in the annual event, this probably marks the first time an all-junior squad is competing
“Fil-Am is a good tournament for them to experience. The tournament venues also add up to the challenge on top of the competition,” said Carito Villaroman, who with Richard Joson formed the squad.
Joson, a mainstay of the team, is still recovering from injury, paving the way for the inclusion of more junior players.

Northwoods has produced many elite players who went on to play for United States college teams, among them Jobim Carlos, Carlo Villaroman, Paulo Wong and Raymart Tolentino.

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