In-form Jay Bayron looms as the top favorite as he guns for a second straight victory in as many weeks as he leads the chase in the ICTSI Riviera Classic beginning Wednesday at Riviera’s Langer course in Silang, Cavite.
Bayron held off Malaysian Gavin Green in a thrilling backside duel at Wack Wack’s East course to snare the Aboitiz Invitational crown last weekend, making him the player to watch in the upcoming 72-hole P2 million championship at one of the country’s toughest courses.
“I feel good and I hope to keep my form,” said Bayron. “But I expect a tough challenge from the rest, especially on a difficult course like Langer.”
The par-71 layout is indeed expected to provide a different kind of challenge for the competing 75-player field with hazards and ravines lurking almost on every hole, requiring conservative play and mental toughness.
That makes the battle for the top P270,000 wide open with Tony Lascuña, joint fourth at Wack Wack, also resuming his quest for a fifth leg win in the circuit sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“It will be anybody’s race at Riviera for sure. Jay is playing solid and the rest also want to score a win,” said Lascuña, who routed the field at Luisita then strung up three straight wins at Eagle Ridge, Forest Hills and Bacolod.
Clyde Mondilla, back-to-back winner at Eastridge and Calatagan, is also expected to bounce back after withdrawing in the second round at Wack Wack due to back injury.
Others tipped to contend in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion are Elmer Salvador, Jhonnel Ababa, Ferdie Aunzo, Marvin Dumandan, Rufino Bayron, Jerson Balasabas, Jun Bernis, Michael Bibat, Cassius Casas, Mhark Fernando, Charles hoing, Mars Pucay, Jobim Carlos, Justin Quiban, Joenard Rates, Gerald Rosales, Orlan Sumcad.
Dutch Guido Van der Valk heads the foreign challenge that includes Japanese Yuta Sudo and Shotaro Onuki, American Dillon Soldwisch, Aussie Nathan Park and Koreans Seok Jun Min, Park Jun Song, Park Jun Hyeok, Hong Soon Hyup, Kim Chang Hoi, Chang Chang Guo and Kim Chang Yeon.