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Gleeson leads cast

David Gleeson hopes to cash in on his good form and challenge for another crown on the second Philippine Golf Tour Asia, which holds its second leg at Riviera’s Langer layout beginning tomorrow.

Gleeson snapped a seven-year title drought with a victory in the PGT Asia’s kickoff leg at Luisita last month, outlasting local bet Erwin Arcillas on the third playoff hole.

But the veteran Aussie campaigner will be facing a tougher cast of rivals in the $100,000 ICTSI Riviera Classic, including the local top guns and a slew of aces from Thailand, Korea, the US, England, New Zealand and Japan.

That should make the 72-hole championship worth watching with the battle for the $17,500 purse tipped to go the way it was at Luisita.

The local bets, for one, are out to redeem themselves from that failed bid at Luisita where an heralded player in Arcillas needed to step up and provide the challenge against Gleeson. Multi-titled Tony Lascuña was the next best Filipino finisher at joint fifth with another Aussie Tim Stewart.

“This is going to be tough. The field is strong with 68 foreigners out to challenge us again,” said Lascuña, who with newly crowned Masters champion Jerson Balasabas and surging Jobim Carlos will be at the forefront of the locals’ charge in the blue-ribbon event sponsored by ICTSI.

Balasabas’ playoff victory over Dutch Guido Van der Valk in last week’s Masters at Villamor should bolster his confidence this week.