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All set for Fil-Am golf which returns to normalcy

FULL BLAST. That is the Fil-Am Invitational Golf Tournament where 1,200 players are expected to tee at the Baguio Country Club and Camp John Hay golf courses on November 23 to December 11, announced co-chairs Anthony de Leon (BCC – right) and Jude Eustaquio of CJH Wednesday. Pigeon Lobien

From the 300 players from last year to some 1,200 players this year, the Fil-Am Invitational Golf Tournament, of the world’s biggest and oldest amateur golf tournament will be back in full force this year as normalcy returns after the more than two years of living under the specter of the Covid-19 virus.

“The Fil-Am goes full blast,” said co-chairs Anthony de Leon of the Baguio Country Club and Jude Eustaquio of Camp John Hay during a press conference at the former’s club today.

De Leon said the golf tournament on November 23 to December 11 is coming back stronger after the Covid-19 pandemic which practically put all activities to a grinding halt in 2020 forcing organizers to cancel the supposed 72nd season.

Last year, under the watchful eyes of the Inter-agency Task Force, the Department of Health and the city government, organizers had a “mini” Fil-Am where only 300 players saw action, all of them needing three antigen tests during the duration of the event and distancing of plays where players tee only 12 minutes after the last one.

This time, the co-chairs say, that the intervals will be shorter at 10 minutes, no antigen tests but players are required to show their vaccination and booster shots card. Moreover, a player showing symptoms should undergo swabbing or report it to the safety committee under pain of disqualification.

The two chairs said that both courses are in tip top shape to accommodate the big number of players during the two week competition where 600 or 120 teams per week will be seeing action.

Eustaquio, who is on his second year of co-chairing the event after joining John Hay last year, said that Manila Southwoods is expected to come back and is one of the favorites to win the top Fil and Am Championship crowns of the regular division.

However, a team from Cebu and Valley will be sending a team that could challenge the perennial champions even as his old team, Forest Hills, is also expected to send a competitive team. Eustaquio played in 2018 for Forest Hills to give Southwoods a run for its money.

The first week of competition will have the seniors side, for players 55 years and older, and the lowest flights of the regular competition. Pigeon Lobien

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