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OUT OF THE ROUGH — Team Philippines opts for ‘hybrid’ lineup at tough Asiad

‘So then everybody will be fielding pros, and remember some of the World’s top 10 players are in Asia.’

‘GOLDEN Girl’ Lois Kaye Go provides good vibes for the Asian Games campaign. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Lois Kaye Go/IG

The Philippine national golf team finds itself in a difficult lie, so to speak, in the coming Hangzhou Asian Games.

Time to pull the “hybrid” off the bag.

Thus, a mix-match lineup to the Games later this month with the likes of junior stalwart Rianne Malixi and pro champ Clyde Mondilla in the fold.

National Golf Association of the Philippines secretary general Valeriano “Bones” Floro II told the Daily Tribune’s Golf Plus that they tinkered with the roster following the spate of development in Asian golf.

That makes the country’s chances too unpredictable because, Floro said, it’s going to be an entirely different scenario in China as some of the world’s best golfers will be donning their country’s colors for the first time.

This is after the Olympic Council of Asia decided that this Asian Games will be “pro-centered” just like the Olympics.

“OCA tried to implement this in Indonesia 2018 but countries (who wanted to stick with all-amateurs) even went to court proceedings to oppose it,” said Floro. “Now for Hangzhou, they (OCA) declared early their intention once again to be pro-centered.”

OCA will have its way, but Floro said all member-countries decided to field amateur squads just the same.

“Until six months ago when South Korea called up and told us they are reneging on our pact,” Floro said.

The Korean pros, some of the best in the world, wanted to compete because an Asian Games gold would mean exemption from the mandatory military service.

“So then everybody will be fielding pros, and remember some of the World’s top 10 players are in Asia,” Floro said.

Some of the best Filipino female players like Bianca Pagdanganan and Dottie Ardina are competing in the LPGA in the United States, and have already committed to their schedules there.

Princess Superal, the reigning Asia Pacific Cup champion, initially wanted to play for Asiad but suddenly she had a scheduled tournament in the Japan Tour’s Step-Up circuit.

“I’m sure Princess didn’t realize the gravity of the situation nor she wanted to just bail out,” Floro said.

The problem, according to Floro, is that Superal’s name was already in the official accreditation list and could not be replaced unless in case of injury “which is certainly not the case.”

So NGAP as well as the Philippine Olympic Committee are lodging an appeal to the Asiad organizing committee to reconsider.

“We have the same problem as basketball, fencing and football,” Floro said. “It’s all on appeal.”

If the Hanzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee relents, NGAP will field Chanelle Avaricio who is now competing in the LPGA’s lower-tiered Epson Tour.

Otherwise, the Philippines will only have Malixi and 2018 Asian Games team golf champion Lois Kay Go in the three-to-play, two-to-count format.

Mondilla and fellow pro Ira Alido will banner the men’s team which also includes amateurs Carl Corpuz and Aidric Chan.

Last Asiad, the country won golds courtesy of Yuka Saso (who has since adopted Japan as her country) in the women’s individual; and Saso, Pagdanganan and Go in women’s team. Pagdanganan also bagged the individual bronze.

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