BACOLOD CITYY – Juvic Pagunsan hopes to buck the expected early charge of the souped-up field, the pressure of completing a second straight victory and a successful title-retention drive as action in the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic fires off today at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club here.
But coming off an emphatic win at nearby Murcia and playing on a course he calls home, Pagunsan has all the motivation he needs in pursuit of another crown on the Philippine Golf Tour and a back-to-back title feat against an international field teeming with talents.
The Japan PGA Tour-based shotmaker outwitted reigning PGT Order of Merit champion but absentee Jobim Carlos on the second playoff hole to reign here last year and the region’s former No. 1 marked his return to the local circuit this season with a seven-stroke romp over Rufino Bayron in the ICTSI Bacolod Golf Classic last weekend.
That makes him the top favorite in the R3 million event sponsored by ICTSI with the smooth-swinging shotmaker also expected to cash in on his local knowledge of the par-70 Marapara layout that features twisting fairways and a tough backside littered with water hazards and deceptive holes.
Still, the rest of the 106-player field, including 37 foreign aces, remain hopeful of foiling the hometown hero in the 72-hole championship serving as the third of the four-stage Visayan swing of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.