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Masters champ eyes Riviera title

Jerson Balasabas

Jerson Balasabas

Philippine Masters champion Jerson Balasabas hopes to bring his new found confidence to the Riviera’s Langer course in Silang, Cavite, site of the PGTA ICTSI Riviera Classic.

Balasabas ended an eight-year drought when he lifted the Masters trophy Sunday by edging Dutch ace Guido Van der Valk in sudden death at the Villamor Golf Club.

“Now I know how it feels like to win,” said the former amateur hotshot who had three runner-up finishes since turning pro in 2010.

The Riviera Classic is part of the Philippine Golf Tour Asia and offers a prize fund of $100,000. The tour is sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

The international field will be led by Thai aces Wisut Artjanawat, Pasavee Lertvilai, Poosit Supupramai, Nirun Sae-Ueng and Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij, Aussies Tim Stewart, Andrew Campbell, Clayton Bridges and DJ Loypur, and Americans Lexus Keoninh, John Michael O’Toole, Cory Oride, Josh Salah and Brett Munson.

Among the local pros, Jhonnel Ababa is tipped to perform well, having won at the close of the inaugural season of the region’s newest circuit.

Others tipped to contend for the top $17,500 purse in the four-day championship backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc., are Tony Lascuña, Jay Bayron, Michael Bibat, Rufino Bayron, Elmer Salvador, Jobim Carlos, Zanieboy Gialon, Keanu Jahns, Mars Pucay, Gerald Rosales and Justin Quiban.

Meanwhile, Manila Southwoods will host the third stop of the second PGT Asia on June 5-8 with the next stop set at Forest Hills on July 11-14 then at the Orchard in Cavite for the Aboitiz Invitational on Sept. 5-8.