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3 Tour winners pace field in P2.5-M event

Americans John Michael O’Toole, Josh Salah and Nick Sherwood, all leg winners in this year’s Asian Development Tour, head a crack five-player invitee group in the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Open, boosting the cast in the P2.5 million event firing off tomorrow at the Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac.

O’Toole, who ruled the PGM Clearwater Masters in Malaysia and No. 8 in the current ADT Order of Merit ranking; Salah, who clinched the PGM Putra Championship crown, and Sherwood, who scored an ADT breakthrough at PGM Penang Championship last June, will be joined in by compatriot Paul Harris and Peter Stojanovski of Australia in the 72-hole championship serving as the penultimate leg of this year’s circuit sponsored by ICTSI.

The five actually saw action in the Aboitiz Invitational ruled by local ace Jay Bayron last August with Sherwood emerging the best finisher at 17th. But they are expected to figure prominently in this week’s title chase, coming off strong finishes in a couple of ADT events heading to the 72-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

Miguel Tabuena won’t be around to defend the crown he won in runaway fashion – nine strokes over Jhonel Ababa – last year but the local challenge remains formidable with Tony Lascuña hoping to re-display the form that netted him a four-shot romp over Korean Park Jun Hyeok in the ICTSI Luisita Championship last April and Bayron out to bring his back-to-back winning act at Wack Wack and Riviera.

Also tipped to contend are three-leg winner Clyde Mondilla and Elmer Salvador, who came from behind to snare the ICTSI Splendido Classic crown two weeks ago, along with Charles Hong, who also won at Luisita in 2014, Jobim Carlos, Marvin Dumandan, Mars Pucay and Cassius Casas.