The $65,000 Aboitiz Invitational unfolding next week at Cebu Country Club does not only help raise the level of play in local golf but also enhances the growth of the Asian Development Tour, a feeder circuit for the Asian Tour.
With the event, slated July 24 to 27, serving as the seventh leg of this year’s ADT, local aces get a chance to test their talent and skills against an international field honing up to make it to the Asian Tour and other top international circuits.
Asian Tour executive chairman Kyi Hla Han expressed his fullest appreciation to Aboitiz Equity Ventures for staging the event for the third straight year at the CCC layout in Cebu City.
“The ADT has grown immensely over the past few years and it is largely due to the support that we receive from great sponsors like Aboitiz. We are thankful that Aboitiz is a strong advocate of the development golf,” said Han.
Local aces have won the first two staging of the event with Jay Bayron winning in 2011 and Elmer Salvador dominating last year. With the local pros in top competitive form coming off a series of tournaments in the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour, the leading players in the current ADT Order of Merit ranking will be hard pressed to stop the Filipinos from keeping the crown at home.
They include Englishman Grant Jackson, Scottish James Byrne, Japanese Mitsuhiko Hashizume and American James Bowen, who leads the ongoing Jakarta Classic.
With the CCC layout stretched to a par-72 this year, the field will be in for a tougher challenge, guaranteeing a down-to-the-wire battle for top honors in the event also backed by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
“ICTSI, together with the PGT, is delighted with its partnership with the Asian Tour, ADT and Aboitiz Equity Ventures for the past three years. Together, we have been making strides in putting the Philippines back in the global golfing map,” said ICTSI chairman and CEO Ricky Razon.
This early, AEV official and Visayan Electric Company (VECO) CEO Basti Lacson has confirmed Aboitiz’s sponsorship of next year’s Aboitiz Invitational during the event’s launch last week although he hinted at staging it at a different venue with the CCC to undergo renovation.
“The future location is still being discussed since the CCC looks like won’t be ready by then,” said Lacson. “But I don’t think we’re looking at any other venue here in Cebu.”