JPGT Visayas Series 1 golf tilt tees off in Iloilo

JPGT Visayas Series 1 golf tilt tees off in Iloilo
Tiffany Bernadino
Pilipinas Golf

ILOILO – Young golfers from Iloilo City and surrounding areas are set to showcase their talents as they begin their campaigns in the Junior Philippine Golf Tour Visayas Series I, which kicks off Monday, June 17, at the Iloilo Golf Club here.

Tiffany Bernardino is one of the standout players expected to deliver a strong performance. However, she faces a tough three-day competition in the girls’ 13-15 division against talented players like Alexie Gabi, Zoie Bagaloyos and Rane Chiu. This division is one of four categories featured in the second regional swing of the nationwide series, established by ICTSI to elevate junior golf in Visayas and Mindanao, providing young players with valuable competitive experience.

"I am excited to play at Iloilo’s historic golf course. My focus will be hitting the fairways and making GIRs. I need to trust my game and play as best as I can. Hopefully I’ll be able to figure how to conquer the long fairways," said Bernardino, 13.

The organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. has adjusted the competition format to level the playing field across the 14-leg, five-month-long nationwide circuit. There are now four age categories: 8-9, 10-12, 13-15, and 16-18, following a three-division tournament structure in the first part of the Luzon series. Titles and rankings will be contested in each category.

Players earn points based on their performance in each tournament, with no limit on the number of events they can enter in a series. However, only their best results will count towards the final rankings for the 72 spots in the JPGT Match Play Championships at The Country Club in Laguna in October.

For the Luzon Series, the best four results will count, while the best two results will matter for the Visayas and Mindanao Series. Players competing in multiple series will have their best three results considered.

The top four players in each category from the Luzon series will advance to the head-to-head national finals, along with the top two from each category in the Visayas and Mindanao series. Additionally, the top player in each division who competes across various series will earn a spot in the Match Play finals.

Bernardino, who participated in last year’s JPGT inaugurals, focusing on drive-chip-and-putt competitions and an 18-hole tournament, will rely on her experience in pursuit of top honors in the 54-hole tournament.

The boys’ 13-15 division is also expected to be highly competitive, with Luciano Copok, Ejay Valenzuela, Dannuo Zhu, Ritchie Go, Mark Ballenas and Miguel Flores leading the charge.

Focus will also be on the premier categories, with Hannah Bernardino, Rhiena Vesinica, and Necky Tortosa vying for the top spot in the girls’ division; while Rinz Vesinica, Ronel Flores, Arsenio Acuña IV, Blake Bautista and John Rey Oro are contenders for the boys’ title.

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