Even before he tees off for the 137th British Golf Championships today, I consider Angelo Que already a winner. His trophy – the bragging rights as the first Filipino golfer to qualify for this prestigious major.
Little is known of this Filipino ace in The Open. Angelo Que was the last qualifier in the Asian leg of the international qualifying tournaments early this year. He is the leader in the ASEAN Order of Merit and has two wins in the Asian Tour, this year’s Philippine Open and the 2004 Carlsberg Masters Vietnam.
The Philippines is not exactly a golfing nation, where the game is still considered a preserve for the elite. In fact, there are no public golf courses in the country. Although some are in public lands like military camps but their operations are for club members and their guests only.
Here in Davao, we have four courses – Apo, Matina, Palos Verdes and Lanang, which unfortunately is closing at the end of this month. But worry not. South Pacific at Catalunan Grande is now under construction.
Yet, the Philippines has a very successful junior golf program that always do good in international tournaments such as this one in California.
And many high government officials are into the game as if the nation is not in crisis.
Tiger Woods would not be in Birkdale today but the field is as star-studded. Angelo Que will be among the last to tee off. I hope that this does not mean that he would be at the tail end after the rounds. I pray that he would play well enough to make the cut. That would be another boast for him.
In the US Open last month, the Filipino qualifier Artemio Murakami did not only miss the cut, but he landed sadly at the bottom of the board.
Filipino golfers need miracle shots like this one to make an impact in the majors.