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Fil-Am Invitational heralds return of amateur golf



PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF rey bancod for the daily tribune The par-3, 13th hole at Camp John Hay Golf Club, one of two venues of the 71st Fil-Am Invitational slated 14 to 17 December in Baguio City.

The 71st Filipino-American Invitational will serve as test case on the country’s readiness to restart golf activities across the archipelago.

Baguio City will host the first major amateur golf tournament to be held in the country since the coronavirus pandemic struck two years ago.

Organizers have limited the field to 280 players representing 56 teams that will see action in the regular and senior divisions.

To ensure the health and safety of participants, organizers are adopting stringent health protocols that include Covid-19 testing every two days.

Players will be tested during the practice round, before the start of the second round and the final round.

The four-day tournament will be held at the Camp John Hay Golf Club and Baguio Country Club.

John Hay assistant general manager Jude Eustaquio said they are leaving no stone unturned to ensure the success of the tournament.

“We have to turn away many teams wanting to take part because we wanted to keep the number manageable,” said Eustaquio, only in his second month as John Hay’s chief executive.

Eustaquio said priority was given to teams from Benguet province, sister golf clubs and long-time participants.

Manila Southwoods is expected to defend its regular title with Luisita emerging as a possible contender.

Both courses are expected to be in peak conditions once the four-day event gets under way.

Eustaquio said he may have to close the fifth hole a week before the Fil-Am to allow its small fairway to recover.

Otherwise, John Hay is ready to host the annual event that was canceled last year.

In 2019, the tournament drew more than 1,000 golfers who played over two weeks.