Jungolf program a key in developing top golfers

By Mars G. Alison |January 10,2019 - 08:25 PM

Philippine Amateur Open champions Gen Nagai (3rd from left) and Lois Kaye “LK” Go (4th from left)  with (from left) Cebu Country Club Jungolf committee chairman Marko Sarmiento, CCC president Bob Gothong, former jungolf chairman Joven Neri, and CCC president Robert Booth. | Photo by Mars G. Alison

Cebu City, Philippines– The recent success of golfers Gen Nagai and Lois Kaye “LK” Go highlighted anew the jungolf program of the Cebu Country Club (CCC).

Nagai and Go were recently crowned men’s and women’s champions in the Philippine Amateur Open Golf Championships last January 6, 2019, wherein they beat higher world ranked amateur golfers  at the Riviera’s Langer course in Silang, Cavite. 

The CCC held a press conference Thursday morning, January 10, to honor the achievement of Nagai and Go, both products of CCC’s jungolf program.

According to lawyer Joven Neri, who headed the CCC jungolf committee from 2003 and 2011 and who is a jungolfer himself back in 1989, Nagai started with the program when he was six years old while Go started when she was seven years old. 

Both joined the program during his time as chairman of jungolf committee.

“We’re happy that we brought pride to this club because we pretty much owe it to them introducing us to golf and making sure with the jungolf program that we enjoy golf and developed our passion for it,” said the 19-year-old Go, who also won gold in last year’s Asian Games and a bronze in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.

The two join a list of CCC jungolfers who have made Cebu proud. These include Charles Hong and Lloyd Jefferson Go, who was the best ranked amateur golfer before he turned pro.

Nagai thanked the CCC for embracing and adopting him as a Cebuano despite being a Japanese.

Marko Sarmiento, current chairman of the CCC jungolf committee, said that having Nagai and Go as the face of their program would encourage more kids to try golf.  

“The program was already proven before this. It goes to show that provincial programs can compete and I think there’s a lot of pride in saying that our program is probably the best in the country,” said Sarmiento.

CCC president Bob Gothong added that ehe golf club also stands to benefit from a successful jungolf program.

“To have a sustainable golf club, you definitely need the jungolf program,”  Gothong said. 

Gothong added that he is very happy that the program was able to develop first and foremost the value system among the young golfers and he urged the jungolf committee to continue producing top-notch golfers.

The Cebuana Go acknowledged all of those who supported them.

“Obviously, thank you to both my parents  and also Gen’s parents for their support,  literally never ending support and we wouldn’t have made it here without you guys and of course without our friends and everyone who supported us and I guess this win isn’t just for me but it is for everyone, the club, even for Cebu and I’m just happy that we were able to bring it back to Cebu  and bring pride to Cebuanos  and show to the Philippines that it’s not only in Manila,” added Go.

Nagai, who turned 22 on Thursday, narrated how he and Go overcame the difficulties enroute to their Philippine Amateur Open titles. 

“My game overall, I thought I was improving throughout the years but in the last couple of years, results haven’t really shown. So heading into the week I was just, I tried my best then I guess the course being very difficult made an advantage for me. It’s not just about hitting the best shot, it’s about being the smartest and most patient and I felt that I had that advantage compared to anyone else on the field,” said Nagai.

Both are planning to turn pro once they finish college. Nagai will be getting his degree in May while Go still has two and a half years to go. Both are studying in the US.

Sarmiento, meanwhile, added that they will kickoff this summer’s CCC jungolf program by hosting the Southern Classic, a national golfest, in April. /bjo

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