TAIPEI -- Two years ago, the Philippines barely missed a medal in the golf competitions in the 28th Universiade in Gwangju, Korea.
Lloyd Jefferson Go of Seton Hall University put up a brave stand in a determined final-round charge before settling for a respectable seventh-place finish.
The United States-based Go thus failed to join chess superstar GM Wesley So of Webster University and taekwondo-jin Samuel Thomas Morrison of Far Eastern University as the only Filipino medalists in the 58-year history of the Universiade.
So made history by winning the gold medal in chess during the Kazan Universiade in 2013, while Morrison bagged the silver medal in taekwondo in the Shenzhen Universiade in 2011.
This year, the 130-strong Filipino delegation supported by the Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines (FESSAP) and sponsored by San Miguel Corp., Bestank and Garfield Sportswear, will pin its hopes on three more golfers -- Jonas Christian Magcalayo of Mapua, Ivan Monsalve of California Baptist University-USA and Jay Matthew Reyes of Ateneo de Manila University.
“Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope our three golfers will play well and bring honors to our country,” said Ong on the eve of the first round of the golf competitions at the Sunrise Golf and Country Club in Taoyuan City.
“Lloyd Jefferson surprised all of us with his seventh-place finish in Gwangju, so it can happen again,” added Ong, who is widely responsible for the Philippines’ participation in the last four Universiades since 2011.
The 21-year-old Magcalayo will be the first Filipino on the tee, joining Roberr Harry Foley of Switzerland and Filippo Campigli of Italy in the 10 a.m flight on Thursday.
Monsalve, 21, will be joined by Alessandro Noceda of Switzerland and Kim Seunghyeon of South Korea at 11:20 a.m.
Reyes, 22, will be the last man out at 11:44 a.m., along with Oh Seungtaek of Korea and Mohd Shakiran Johari of Malaysia.