DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Manila-based golfers Lucas de Guzman, and Nicole and Stephanie Gaisano-Gan took early leads in their respective divisions as the Mindanao leg of the Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines (JGFP) Apo Circuit kicked off Thursday, January 5 at the Apo Golf and Country Club here.
De Guzman scored a two-over par 74 in the first round to lead the 6-under boys division of the tournament that aims to discover new talents in the sport especially in the region.
The 6-year-old de Guzman birdied the final hole, which was his fifth for the day.
“It was a good game for me,,” said De Guzman, a veteran of the 2022 IMG Academy Junior World Championships in the US.
With coach Toch “J3” Altea – mentor of pro golfer and Olympian Miguel Tabuena – guiding him, de Guzman enjoys a 13-shot lead on hometown bet and Mindanao champion Ethan Lago, who had an opening round 87.
On the other hand, Nicole Gaisano-Gan scored a four-over par 76 as she leads Lisa Sarines, who had a 78 in the 11-12 girls.
Her five-year-old sister Stephanie had an opening round 87 and is up by eight on Soleil Molde (95) in the 6-under gilrs
Ralph Batican’s 74 leads participants in 9-10 boys, Brittany Tamayo’s 73 is the best performance in 9-10 girls, Alonzo Retuerto’s 86 leads the 7-8 boys, Rafella Arienne Batican’s 73 paces the 7-8 girls, Brittany Tamayo’s 73 is best in 9-10 girls, and David Teves’ 81 heads the 11-12 boys.
The second and final day of the 5 to 12 years old will be played Friday, while participants in the 13 to 18 years old categories will see action on Saturday and Sunday.
“We are happy with the turnout for the 5-12 years old, and we’re excited as well for the 13-18. We hope to discover new talents at the grassroots level, which is the mission of JGFP,” said JGFP president Oliver Gan of the tournament backed by Gaisano Malls, John Gaisano, Dimdi Furniture and Appliance Centre, Soleil Cafe and Islandwide Distribution Corporation.
More than 100 young golfers are joining the event.
The age brackets for the 5 to 12 years old will be played on Thursday and Friday, while participants in the 13 to 18 years old categories will see action on Saturday and Sunday.
Under the new board, this is the first time the JGFP conducted a tournament of this scale at Apo Golf since its first and only event here back in 2014.
“We are very excited to have a real grassroots development for golf. After this Davao meet, we will also be doing a similar event in Cagayan de Oro City later this month,” said JGFP chairman Tommy Manotoc.
The region has produced a number of successful world class golfers over the years, including Apo’s own Tony Lascuna, Cassius Casas, Elmer Saban, Elmer Salvador, Jay Bayron, Jhonnel Ababa, national team member Elee Bisera and rising star Edison Tabalin. – Rappler.com