The Philippine Golf Tour ushers in the new season with a two-leg swing in the Visayas beginning with the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic presented by MORE Power on March 15-18 with the cream of the country’s pro crop bannering the cast beefed up by a number of aces who hurdled the recent PGT Q-School.
They include former amateur hotshots and national team mainstays who are bursting with enthusiasm about taking their respective games to the next level although focus will be on the top guns headed by the top finishers in The Country Club Invitational last month, the flagship tournament of each PGT season.
The Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.-organized circuit last made stops in Visayas and Mindanao in 2019 but was forced to hold “bubble” tournaments in the next two years before staging seven events last year following the easing up of health restrictions.
And with the success of the Don Pocholo Razon Memorial Cup and the staging of the PGT Q-School, the PGTI and the sponsoring ICTSI are looking forward to a busy season with a full calendar of events. The PGT, which offers a total purse of P2.25 million, will also be held simultaneously with the Ladies PGT.
Meanwhile, after the Negros Occidental Classic at the Marapara Golf and Country Club, the Tour will hold the ICTSI Iloilo Golf Challenge on March 22-25 at the Iloilo Golf and Country Club before action moves to Laguna for the second ICTSI Caliraya Springs Championship on April 18-21 at the Caliraya Golf and Country Club in Cavinti.
The LPGT tournaments will stake P875,000 in total prizes.
The in-form Guido van der Valk, who won two legs last year and romped away with a five-stroke win over Lloyd Go in this year’s TCC Invitational, is expected to lead the title chase in Bacolod, Iloilo and Caliraya, along with the likes of Tony Lascuña, Clyde Mondilla, Zanieboy Gialon, Michael Bibat, Art Arbole, Mars Pucay, Frankie Miñoza, Jay Bayron, Ira Alido, Marvin Dumandan, Jhonnel Ababa and Jerson Balasabas.
But they will be as much tested as the top Q-School finishers, including Korean Hyun Ho Rho, 18, and the Japanese duo of Toru Nakajima and Cebu-based Gen Nagai, while brand new pros Gab Manotoc, Russel Bautista, Kristoffer Arevalo, Jonas Magcalayo and Elee Bisera hope to make a big impact right on their pro debuts in the country’s premier circuit.
Others vying in the 72-hole championship are Elmer Salvador, Ferdie Aunzo, Nilo Salahog, Josh Jorge, Elmer Saban, Robert Pactolerin, Rene Menor with Hong Kong’s Michael Wong, Ueda Atsushi of Japan, Koreans Kim Minseong, Lee Song and Lee Hwan also expected to spice up the title chase.
For details, email [email protected] or contact tournament administrator Jhi Castillo at +63 9283165678.