Brand-new winner Michael Bibat hopes to ride the momentum of his inspiring two-shot win last week as he shoots for a second straight victory in the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) Del Monte Championship which gets under way on Wednesday at the Del Monte Golf Club in Bukidnon.
Bibat bucked the final round pressure to hold of a host of rivals, including fancied Elmer Salvador and Tony Lascuna, whom he beat by two for the ICTSI Rancho Palos Verdes Classic crown, his first since turning pro in 2008.
“The same rivals but a different challenge at Del Monte,” said Srixon-backed Bibat. “But for sure, the win was a big morale boost.”
It could also mean added pressure for the former Asian Games bronze medalist as the tour’s big guns will surely go all out to foil his back-to-back title bid in the sixth leg of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour and the second of three stops in the Mindanao swing of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Frankie Minoza also hopes to sustain his big finish at Palos Verdes where he wound up joint fourth with a closing 68 as he heads to the P1 million event sponsored by ICTSI at Del Monte where he grew up and honed his talent and skills.
Others tipped to contend for top honors are Ferdie Aunzo, Reymon Jaraula, Jay Bayron, Elmer Saban, Clyde Mondilla, Anthony Fernado, Mhark Fernando, Rolando Marabe and Zania Boy Gialon.
Charles Hong is also expected to prime up in a buildup for his defense of the crown in next week’s leg at ICTSI Pueblo de Oro Championship where he humbled Richard Sinfuego to claim his maiden win last year.
Meanwhile, Bibat and the other leading pros test the Del Monte layout in tomorrow’s (Tuesday) pro-am event which will also feature officials and representatives of the event’s chief backers, including Nike Golf, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, Mizuno, Titleist, Srixon, Foot Joy, Callaway, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers, Cleveland Golf and Sharp.
After Del Monte and Pueblo de Oro, a pair of 54-hole tournaments, the circuit goes to Cebu for the Aboitiz Invitational, a four-day championship offering a prize fund of P2.5 milion which also serves as a leg of the Asian Development Tour, a farm league of the Asian Tour.