Premium will be on accuracy and putting as the men of the tour tackle a short but tricky Club Filipino De Cebu course when the rich ICTSI CFdC Invitational is fired off tomorrow in Danao City.
Short by the pros’ standards, the par-71, 6692-yard course is still expected to challenge the field’s skills, particularly in iron play and course management with its unpredictable surface also tipped to add up to the challenges that abound around the layout carved from steep hills.
It also features dog-leg holes that could lure the long hitters to take the risk and use their drivers in a bid to gain ground against the rest of the bidders in the P3 milion event kicking off a four-leg Visayas swing of the Philippine Golf Tour’s milestone 10th season.
Jhonnel Ababa reigned when CFdC first hosted a PGT leg last September although the multi-titled Davaoeño shotmaker did it via the short route, winning it in 54 holes after heavy rain cancelled third round play.
But with forecast of an overall good weather for the week, the 79-player cast headed by the country’s top guns, a host of foreign aces and six invitees brace for four days of battle and a wild finish in the event sponsored by ICTSI.
“No one holds a distinct advantage here. It’s a tricky course which requires good course management skills,” said Tony Lascuña, seeking to come out strong in a bid to snap a long title spell marred by sorry finishes and injuries.
While Ababa is upbeat of scoring a repeat, the rest of the pack also exude confidence of putting up a solid showing, including veteran Jay Bayron, former Phl Masters champion Jerson Balasabas and PGT Asia leg winners James Ryan Lam, Justin Quiban, Joenard Rates and Rene Menor.
The list also includes PGT winners, led by Dutch Guido Van der Valk, Zanieboy Gialon, Charles Hong and Mars Pucay with the long-hitting Rey Pagunsan also coming into the event brimming with confidence coming off a victory in the National pro-am at Splendido.
Former national champion Lloyd Go is also out to make an impact in his maiden stint on the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. as spearhead of the six invitees, including PGT Asia leg winner David Gleeson of Australia, Mateo Gomez and Sebastian Lopez of Colombia, Englishman George Twyman and Jack Sullivan, also from Australia.
Also vying for the top P550,000 purse in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc. are Americans Lexus Keoninh, Charles Lee, Pete Vilairatana and Sean Talmadge, Aussies Fidel Concepcion and Calum Junifer, Koreans Hyang Myung Chal, Kim Young Hyun, Park Jun Sung, and Japanese Ryui Hashimoto, Makoto Iwasaki, Yudai Suzuki, Kei Matsuoka, Kanata Nakagawa, Ryo Nishimura, Raiki Okamoto, Emilio Parodi of Argentina, PGT Q-School topnotcher Marcos Pastor of Spain, Thai Pachara Sakulyong and Peter Stojanovski of Macedonia.