Fernando debuts in Phl Open
() - December 13, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines –  Former national champion Mhark Fernando makes his keenly awaited pro debut as he gets into the mix of a star-studded field battling it out in this week’s Philippine Open Golf Championship at the Valley Golf Club in Antipolo.

Fernando, who has served the national team the last three years, is expected to figure prominently in the hunt for the crown in the P2 million event firing off Wednesday at the Valley Golf Club, owing to his form, talent and experience here and abroad.

“If my putting clicks, I think I’ll have a chance,” said the 28-year-old Fernando. “The key is to play well and stay in contention in the last two rounds.”

Meanwhile, the traditional pro-am tournament will be held tomorrow, with the leading pros on the PGT Order of Merit ranking and amateurs along with the event’s sponsors, VIPs, Valley Golf Club members and NGAP board members seeing action.

The pro-am also serves as the final tuneup for the pros vying for the top P350,000 purse in the event sponsored by San Miguel Corp. and backed by Pagcor, Orient Pearl, Amalgamated Motors (Phils.) Inc., Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Rudy Project, EFC and friends of NGAP and Club Car Phils. as hole-in-one sponsor and A Round of Golf as media partner. Motorola is the event’s two-way radio supplier.

Meanwhile, 11-year-old Lester Lagman, a Junior World campaigner in San Diego and in the Optimist Junior International in Florida, will get his first taste of big-time golf as he joins the big guns in the tournament proper.

The soft-spoken Fernando, who last saw action with the Phl team in last month’s Asian Games, has won a pro tournament in last year’s ICTSI-Philippine Golf Tour, beating the cream of the crop in harsh playing conditions at Riviera.

He has also anchored the ICTSI-Canlubang golf team’s romp in the annual PAL Interclub and won this year’s Malaysian Amateur Open crown while leading the Phl to the team championship.

Fernando was set to turn pro early this year but was prevailed upon to defer his decision to spearhead the Putra Cup, World Amateurs and Asian Games squads.

An arm injury actually slowed down Fernando in his last few tournaments but the smooth-swinging shotmaker said he has recovered and is in fact looking forward to a grand debut.

“I just hope I won’t re-injure myself again. My target is to further improve my game so I’ll be ready for next year’s tour,” he said.

Out to foil his bid are the likes of Frankie Miñoza, Marvin Dumandan, Cassius Casas, Benjie Magada, Ferdie Aunzo, Antonio Asistio II, Rufino Bayron and defending champion Elmer Salvador.

A ROUND OF GOLF AMALGAMATED MOTORS ANTONIO ASISTIO ASIAN GAMES BENJIE MAGADA CASSIUS CASAS CLUB CAR PHILS FERNANDO GOLF VALLEY GOLF CLUB
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