June 14, 2024

■  Harley F. Palangchao

University of the Cordilleras sophomore golfer Ranz Louie Balay-odao has carried the region’s pride when he shared the fifth spot in the recent 2024 North Philippine Developmental Intercollegiate Golf Series held at the Royal Northwoods Golf Club in San Rafael, Bulacan.

The 21-year-old Balay-odao, who is taking up Business Management at UC, was the lone representative from north of Manila but he made his presence felt among top amateur golfers, edging players from top universities in the National Capital Region.

TOP FIVE FINISHER — University of the Cordilleras golfer Ranz Louie Balay-odao shared the fifth spot in the premier men’s gold in the recent 2024 North Philippine Developmental Intercollegiate Golf Series held at the Royal Northwoods Golf Club in San Rafael, Bulacan. He was the lone representative from north of Manila in the event dominated by players from universities in Metro Manila. — Contributed photos

Balay-odao, who started playing golf in December 2020, fired 31 Stableford points to share the fifth spot with Joshua Buenaventura of the University of the Philippines in the premier men’s category gold.

The rising golfer from Benguet was even-par at the front nine but finished the game at five-over at the challenging par-72 course when his momentum was distracted by the sudden downpour that halted the game for almost an hour.

Paqo Barro of Ateneo de Manila University carded 40 points to lead the top four players, who also represented the same school in the event held on April 28.

The other players who saw action in the tournament were from University of Sto. Tomas, New Era University, and FEATI University.

Balay-odao said he could have played better if he was familiar with the course, saying he only played three rounds ahead of the tournament. Most of those in the top five play regularly at Royal Northwoods.

“I’m grateful that I represented UC and the region in this tournament with the support of my family and some local golf clubs such as the Pines Kumpadres Golf Club,” Balay-odao said.

He likewise thanked former national golf team squad member Luigi Paolo Wong, whom he considers as one of his mentors.

The La Trinidad, Benguet native Wong has played for the San Jose State University in the National Collegiate Athletic Association in the United States as a student-athlete.

Balay-odao, meanwhile, is looking forward to be representing UC in future national and international tournaments, as he is one of the perennial champions in local tournaments.