Chinese Taipei’s Hsieh Chi-hsien signed up for the Asian Development Tour’s ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic, firming up the crack international cast that features a slew of local aces and the region’s leading players in the $60,000 event firing on Wednesday at Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Cavite.
Hsieh, the current Asian Development Tour’s Order of Merit leader, didn’t see action in last week’s ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational won by Malaysian Arie Irawan but is all-primed up for this week’s event, seeking no less than a victory and a continued hold of the ADT OOM lead.
The 24-year-old winner of Yeangder ADT crown last month joins 25 other pros and a slew of amateurs in today’s traditional pro-am, hoping to familiarize himself with the tough par-72, hazard, wind-raked layout and get himself into the groove against the equally talented field vying for the top $10,500 purse in the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Irawan, who beat Miguel Tabuena by four at Eagle Ridge to claim his second ADT win this year and close in on Hsieh in the OOM race, will not be around to go for a second straight victory on ADT’s two-week swing in the country, but the likes of Poosit Supupramai, Panuwat Muenlek, Annop Tangkamolprasert, Itthipat Buranatanyarat and Atthaphon Sriboonkaew of Thailand, Japanese Masaru Takahashi, Swede Nils Floren, Wilson Choo of Malaysia, and Americans Casey O’Toole and Micah Shin are in the fold, ensuring a spirited chase for top honors in the 72-hole championship co-organized by ADT and Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
But the field will not only be tackling one of the country’s toughest courses but also the heat with the local bets hoping to redeem themselves from last week’s failed bid after Tony Lascuna, Elmer Salvador and Rufino Bayron swept the three ADT events here last year.
Salvador and Bayron will banner the local challenge, along with last year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour leg winners Cassius Casas, Clyde Mondilla, Zanie Boy Gialon, Arnold Villacencio, Jun Rates and Mars Pucay as Lascuna, Tabuena and Angelo Que have opted to play in the Indonesian Masters of the Asian Tour, also slated this week.
Charles Hong, winner of the all-Filipino Sherwood Hills Classic last year, is also upbeat of his chances of scoring a repeat despite the presence of a number of foreign rivals although he stressed the need to come up with a strong start for the momentum and confidence.
Also joining the hunt are Jhonnel Ababa, Benjie Magada, Orlan Sumcad, Ferdie Aunzo, Jun Bernis, Michael Bibat, Anthony Fernando, Mhark Fernando, Dante Becierra, Elmer Saban, Randy Garalde, Rey Pagunsan and Frankie Minoza.
Still, focus will be on Hsieh, who has set his sights on earning his Asian Tour card next year after regaining his confidence following his tough four-playoff hole win in Yeangder.
The ADT will reward the top players on the final OOM ranking with playing rights in the 2016 Asian Tour season.