Juvic Pagunsan and Clyde Mondilla set out for no less than a victory in their keenly awaited return to the Philippine Golf Tour, boosting the already formidable cast clashing in the ICTSI Bacolod Golf Challenge starting tomorrow in Murcia, Negros Occidental.
The Japan PGA Tour-based Pagunsan hopes to make the most of his rare stint on the circuit, eager to mark his comeback with at least a strong showing as he tries to build confidence in time for his title-retention drive in Negros Occidental next week.
The former Asia’s No. 1 made an emotional return last year on a course where he nurtured his game and won the Philippine Amateur crown in 2006, edging Jobim Carlos in sudden death to win the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic.
Though he had struggled in the first half of the two other regional tours, the smooth-swinging shotmaker is expected to figure in the title hunt in this week’s R2.5 million event put up by ICTSI owing to his talent and skills, particularly his solid iron game that suits best at the short par-70 layout.
Like Pagunsan, Mondilla is also out to make an impact following a two-month long absence due to injury but the reigning Solaire Philippine Open champion will be in for a tough outing against a fired-up field led by last week’s Club Filipino de Cebu Invitational winner and Manila-based Guido Van der Valk of the Netherlands.
Mondilla and Pagunsan actually finished tied at 22nd in the kickoff leg of PGT Asia at Luisita last April before the former took a break and the latter resumed his campaign in Japan.
Legend Frankie Miñoza is also making his return to the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., coming in as one of the invitees, along with Mateo Gomez and Sebastian Lopez of Colombia, Englishman George Twyman and Aussie Jack Sullivan and Gleeson.
Justin Quiban, meanwhile, is seeking to recall the form that upstaged the cream of the local pro crop and a number of foreign aces here last year, where he put up three solid rounds and went on to beat Jay Bayron by five.