Manila, Philippines: Rupert Zaragosa will be aiming to add another piece of silverware to his bulging trophy cabinet when he tees-off in the eighth edition of the Faldo Series Philippines Championship.
One of Southeast Asia’s brightest young male golfing prospects, Zaragosa will set out as overwhelming favourite to claim top honours in this week’s 54-hole World Amateur Golf Ranking [WAGR] event at Beverly Place Golf Club.
Located in Pampanga, about 70 kilometres north of the capital Manila, the Gary Player-designed course that boasts views of Mount Arayat has an abundance of water hazards for players to contend with.
Going into the 14th leg of the record-breaking 2015-2016 Faldo Series Asia season, though, Zaragosa will be brimming with confidence after an impressive series of performances this year.
He set the tone with a runner-up finish in January’s Philippine Amateur Open. Among other highlights have been victory in June’s Indonesia Junior Open and a fourth-place finish at San Diego’s Torrey Pines in July’s IMG Academy Junior World Championships.
That was the best effort by a male from the Philippines in the 15-17 years division in 29 years and was a fitting farewell appearance in the event for Zaragosa, who won the Boys’ 11-12 division in 2010.
As a member of his country’s international teams, Zaragosa also excelled at June’s Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, September’s Southeast Asian Men’s Amateur Team Championship for the Putra Cup in Thailand and last month’s Asia Pacific Amateur Championship in Hong Kong.
Now Zaragosa, ranked 284th in the WAGR, has his sights set on securing a trip to Mission Hills China next March for the 10th anniversary Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo.
Among those expected to challenge Zaragosa at Beverly Place are Carl Corpus, Jolo Magcalayo and Jan Philippe De Claro, winner of the Boys’ Under-21 category at last year’s Faldo Series Philippines Championship.
At Mission Hills in the ninth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, he tied for fifth in the Boys’ Under-21 segment and was second among the Philippines contingent, behind only Princess Mary Superal, who had the distinction of winning the Girls’ Under-21 title.
Supported by The R&A and Mission Hills and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2015-16 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months and will include a minimum of 21 events in 17 countries including, for the first time, Australia.