THE Philippines will be facing tall odds against the regional powers when it hosts the Nomura Cup, the Asia-Pacific Amateur Team Championship, for just the fourth time starting on Tuesday at the Masters course of the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club in Carmona, Cavite.
Kristoffer Arevalo, a veteran of two national team campaigns, will be teaming up with Elee Bisera and Coby Rolida who will be making their debut for the Philippine squad in the 29th edition of the 16-nation event that features talents from the region ranked highly in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
“We’ve prepared hard enough, it’s going to be a tough mission for the three of us but hopefully playing in our home course and with a local crowd to support us will work in our favor,” said Arevalo, who is also a mainstay of the crack Southwoods team that has dominated most of the Inter-club competitions.
Bisera and Rolida will be taking their baptism of fire in international play on home soil and like Arevalo, will be fired up by the inspiration that the country has yet to win the biennial competition that was last held in 2017. It was the same year when Thailand ended its own search for a breakthrough win.
The Philippines had finished second twice but those runner-up finishes came quite a long time ago, first in 1971 and then in 1977.
For Martin Lorenzo, president of the organizing National Golf Association of the Philippines, the hosting of the Nomura Cup is a testament to the resilience of the country amid a confluence of pandemic and natural disasters.
“What makes this event even more special is the way it uplifts us after having tested our mettle these past few years. Nevertheless, as we learned in the game of golf, we knew how to accept adversity, focus on the tasks at hand, and find solutions to the problems confronting us,” Lorenzo said.
Taimur Hassan Amin, chairman of the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation, also lauded the leaderships of the NGAP and Manila Southwoods for coming to the event’s rescue after its original host in 2019 (Hong Kong) begged off due to its peace and order problems in 2019 before the pandemic caused another postponement.
“Given the history of the Nomura Cup and its enduring connection with the Philippines, it’s entirely fitting that we’re able to celebrate its belated return to our calendar,” said Amin.
The event is sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, Smart, PLDT, TV5, PING, the Philippine Sports Commission, the Philippine Olympic Committee, Yamaha, Bettinardi, Gatorade and Hytera. Cignal and One Sports are media partners.
Aside from the Philippines and Thailand, also in the field are Australia, Chinese-Taipei, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore and United Arab Emirates.
The Nomura Cup is part of the APGC’s portfolio of events that also includes the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific, Queen Sirikit Cup, APGC Senior Championship, APGC Junior Championship Mitsubishi Corporation Cup, Bonallack Trophy and Patsy Hankins Trophy, and the Asia-Pacific Open Diamond Cup Golf on the Japan Golf Tour Organization schedule.