Tony Lascuña hopes to snap a string of heartbreakers and spark another title run on the Philippine Golf Tour as he defends his ICTSI Forest Hills Championship, which gets going Wednesday at the Forest Hills Golf and Country Club in Antipolo.
Lascuña overwhelmed the field in last year’ staging of the event, romping with an 11-stroke victory over Zanieboy Gialon and Orlan Sumcad in the second of his three-win run en route to a five-leg feat to reclaim the Order of Merit crown.
But after a one-stroke win over Jay Bayron at Manila Masters at Eastridge last April, the veteran Davaoeño shotmaker seemed to have struggled trying to nail win No. 2, particularly in the last three legs of the circuit where he tied for second at Southwoods and Villamor and ended up third at Calatagan two weeks ago.
“It’s hard to be consistent (in golf). The course and the condition vary and one has to mind not only his game but also try to better his rivals’,” said Lascuña.
“But I’m working hard to further improve my game,” he added.
So do the rest of the field.
Gialon, for one, has re-emerged as a chief contender for the top R550,000 purse up for grabs in the R3 million event sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. following his empathic six-stroke victory over Jhonnel Ababa at Calatagan.
Clyde Mondilla is also out to score a follow-up to his back-to-back wins at Southwoods and Villamor and try to grab the OOM lead from Lascuña halfway through the 14-leg circuit while the likes of Jay Bayron, Elmer Salvador, Mars Pucay, Cassius Casas, Mhark Fernando, Rey Pagunsan, Jun Bernis, Michael Bibat and Ababa are always on the prowl, ready to seize the moment.
Three-time Asian Tour winner Angelo Que has also confirmed his participation in the event, boosting the already formidable international roster that includes American Nicolas Paez, Korean Park Jun Sung, Aussie Nathan Park, Macedonian Peter Stojanovski and local-based Dutch Guido Van der Valk.
The young guns are also raring to grab the spotlight in the 72-hole championship with Jobim Carlos, Ira Alido, Keanu Jahns, John Kier Abdon and Justin Quiban all raring to post their maiden victory in the circuit backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.
The leading pros, meanwhile, will test the wind-raked, rolling layout for one last time in tomorrow’s pro-am tournament where they will be paired with the event’s chief backers and supporters.
The circuit also serves as a prelude to the fifth staging of The Duel, which pits the top players from the North and South in a Ryder Cup-style format set July 5-7 at Camp John Hay Golf Club in Baguio.