THE Cebu Country Club (CCC) has sent a strong message to the golfing community after former junior golfers Lois Kaye Go and Gen Nagai ruled their divisions in the 2019 Philippine Amateur Open Golf Championships, which wrapped up on Sunday, Jan. 6, at the Riviera Golf Club.
The University of South Carolina standout Go bagged the women’s crown in the event dubbed as the country’s premier championship. It came just a few months after winning the team gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games.
Nagai, a Japanese who was raised in Cebu, made it sweeter for Cebu golfers as he topped the men’s division for his first Philippine Amateur Open title.
“This is not just for me, it’s for the club and even for Cebu. We were able to bring the title back here,” said Go in a press conference at the CCC on Thursday, Jan. 10.
Go won the crown with a total of 285 from rounds of 71, 74 and a pair of 70s.
“I was not hitting my best, but I was more careful, I played smarter than the rest. The course was difficult and course management is important. I think that was one of the keys of my winnings,” said Go, adding that it’s pretty sweet to outlast the players who are higher than her on the world ranking.
For Nagai, it was about playing smart and being patient in the four-round tournament that put him at the top. He finished the tournament with 298 from rounds of 72, 81, 74 and 71.
“I felt I was improving heading to the week. The course was challenging and I was not able to get my best shots. It was just about patience and playing smart,” said Nagai of Seton Hall.
Former and current CCC jungolf committee chairman Atty. Jovi Neri and Marko Sarmiento agreed that the recent feat shows the competitive level of the golfers played in this side of the country.
“I think our program was proven in the fact that these players won. It’s really a statement that we are a force to be reckoned with. It just shows that provincial clubs can compete. Our junior golf program is proven,” said Sarmiento.
“It’s a really big honor they brought to the club,” said Neri, “It has an impact in the athletes in Cebu that show they have a chance.”
The club president Bob Gothong added that these golfers would be the role model for the upcoming golfers who want to try golf.
“With the right atmosphere and program in the field, it proves to be successful. We want to continue to produce good golfers and also good people with character who can contribute to society,” he said.
Go is set to go back to the US for her studies and play for North Carolina. But she guarantees to be back in the country in time for the Southeast Asian (Sea) Games in December.
The jun golf program of CCC is a six-week program held every summer and July. The program usually attracts about 100 young golfers.
“This won’t happen without the support of the parents, because it’s a demanding sport and requires a lot of patience and support. The parents deserve the credit,” said Sarmiento.