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The crack Asian Development Tour field primes up not only for a four-day duel of shotmaking, iron play and putting with the local aces in the Aboitiz Invitational firing off tomorrow but also with the Wack Wack East course that has been spruced up to championship form for a true test of golf.
Although relatively flat, the par-72, 7053-yard layout remains as tough as ever with its tight fairways, hazards that lurk in every corner and trifling putting surface tipped to bring out the best and worst from every player in the $100,000 event put up by Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc.
It will also be a battle of wits with some holes requiring conservative play and patience, including the signature par-3 188-yard No. 8 with an elevated green more than 5 meters high with six bunkers, long considered as the “make-or-break” hole even for the season pros.
That should guarantee an action-packed duel among the men of the ADT, headed by all but one of the Top 10 players in the current ADT Order of Merit ranking and the country’s leading players, including two-time champion Elmer Salvador and former titlists Jay Bayron and Tony Lascuña.
“It’s going to be tough but the Filipinos have the edge here, given our local knowledge of the course,” said Lascuña, taking the cudgels for the hosts in the absence of Rio-bound Miguel Tabuena, Angelo Que and last year’s champion Juvic Pagunsan.
ADT OOM frontrunner Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand, winner of the Yeangder ADT in Taiwan last March, is spearheading the foreign challenge along with No. 2 Johannes Veerman of the US, No. 3 Gavin Green of Australia, No. 4 Itthipat Buranatanyarat and No. 5 Poom Saksansin, both of Thailand.