Already daunting with its length, hazards, bunkers and undulating fairways and surface, the wind and the heat are expected to make The Country Club one real test for the revered men of the Philippine Golf Tour Asia when the Solaire Philippine Open is fired off tomorrow (Wednesday, April 3).
“Kept in championship form all year-round, the TCC will be doubly tough at this time of the year with the heat and the wind to add to the severe challenges the course will pose to all the bidders,” said TCC general manager Colo Ventosa, also the GM of the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
The last two SPO crowns have been won through sudden deaths at the windy TCC with a similar ending expected from the crack 132-player field that drew some of the top and rising players from at least 13 nations, including 39 from title-hungry Thailand and 11 each from Australia and the US.
Meanwhile, a select number of pros get to test the 7735-yard Tom Weiskoph-designed one last time as they team up with officials and guests of the event’s chief backers, including ICTSI, Solaire, PLDT Enterprise, Meralco, BDO and PGT Asia Tour official apparel Pin High in today’s (Tuesday) pro-am.
They include Juvic Pagunsan, Angelo Que, Jobim Carlos and Clyde Mondilla, who will spearhead the country’s bid in the $500,000 championship sponsored by Solaire Resort & Casino for the third straight year and sanctioned by the National Golf Association of the Philippines in the absence of injured and last year’s champion Miguel Tabuena.
But they will be as much tested as the rest of the crack foreign cast, led by Thais Poom Saksansin, Chawalit Plaphol, Chapchai Nirat and Prom Meesawat, who lost to Tabuena last year, Malaysian Nicholas Fung, PGT Q-School topnotcher Marcos Pastor of Spain, young Korean and PGT leg winner Kim Joo Hyung, Taiwanese Tsai Chi-huang and PGT Asia leg champions Damien Jordan and David Gleeson of Australia.
Korean-American Micah Shin, who humbled the local aces to be become the first non-Filipino to win the TCC Invitational last year, is also in the fold, ready to score a repeat against a field toughened up by the leading campaigners from Korea, the Netherlands, Japan, England, India and Indonesia.