Jay Bayron and Jun Rates try to become the first double-leg winner on this year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour as they headline the stellar field in the rich International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) Sherwood Hills Classic unfolding on Wednesday at the wind-raked Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Trece Martirez, Cavite.
Winner of the kickoff leg at Splendido and third at ICTSI John Hay, Bayron sets out for at least a runner-up finish in the P3 million event in a bid to dislodge Order of Merit (OOM) leader Tony Lascuna, who ruled the third stage at ICTSI Eagle Ridge but has begged off this week to compete in the Indonesia Masters of the Asian Tour, set to start on Thursday.
“Despite the absence of Lascuna and three others, the title chase remains as wide open as ever with so many good players in the fold. But with some luck, I hope to pull it off again,” said Bayron, who wound up joint eighth at Eagle Ridge.
Rates, who humbled the cream of the pro crop in Baguio but struggled at Splendido and Eagle Ridge, is in third in the OOM standing but will need to churn out a solid game on the long Sherwood layout to snatch the whopping P650,000 top purse and the overall OOM lead.
“I’ll try but it will be tough,” said the 5-3 Rates, who faces the daunting task of going up against the tour’s long hitters in the 72-hole championship serving as the fourth leg of the 16-stage circuit sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Marvin Dumandan, who nearly snapped a long title drought with a final round 64 to finish second to Lascuna at Eagle Ridge two weeks ago, is also due for a win along with fellow long hitters Rey Pagunsan, Carl Santos-Ocampo, Rufino Bayron, Charles Hong, Jhonnel Ababa, Ferdie Aunzo, Jessie Balasabas, Dante Becierra, Michael Bibat, Rico Depilo, Mhark Fernando, Anthony Fernando, James Ryan Lam and Mars Pucay.