17th FISU world university golf championship opens in Lubao

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LUBAO, Pampanga — The 17th World University Golf Championship (WUGC) officially opened on Tuesday at the 18-hole golf course, Pradera Verde Golf and Country Club in Barangay Prado Siongco here.

Eleven countries including Philippines, Australia, China, France, Germany, Hongkong, ChineseTaipei, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Republic of South Africa and Switzerland have joined the 17th WUGC opening with 68 student-golf players ages 17 to 25 years old.

Organized by the Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines (FESSAP), the WUGC will have their 4-day golf tournament.

In his speech, Philippine Sports Commission President Ramon Fernandez welcomed the delegates to the Philippines, specially what he described as “beautiful and world class” Pradera Verde Golf and Country Club.

During the tee off at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, WUGC Director Paulo Ferreira said the golf course here is exceptional.

According to FESSAP President David Ong, the Pradera Golf Course, which is less than a year old, has metamorphosed into a prime destination for Filipino golfers from North and Central Luzon and the biennial World University Golf Championship is one avenue for the world’s best golfers to pit their skills as well as explore one of the country’s scenic tourist spots.

“This international event will not only promote golf as a sport for the younger generation of Filipino athletes but also boost tourism in our country,” Ong added.

Lubao Mayor Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab, during her speech, said the local government unit along with PVGCC are ecstatic that Pradera Verde has been chosen as the venue for the WUGC.

“We believe that the more opportunities for our youth to exhibit their God-given talent, the more champions we will produce in the future,” the mayor added.

“We are happy that our province Pampanga and town Lubao and Pradera Verde will be part of your experience in achieving your dreams and aspirations,” Cayabyab told the delegates.

The closing ceremony for the 4-day golf tournament will be on Saturday along with the awarding ceremony for the champions.

The 400-hectare Pradera Verde tourism estate is around five minutes away from the Dinalupihan exit of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway. The golf course, which will soon expand to 36 holes, itself sits on a 150-hectare area of the estate.

Last November, an 18-hole exhibition match between American Dustin Johnson, the US Open titlist and world’s No. 2 golfer at the time, and world third-ranked Rory McIlroy was also staged in Pradera Verde Golf Course.