Rookie pro Jobim Carlos returns to resume his hunt not only for a breakthrough victory but also for a payback against the hottest player on the Philippine Golf Tour as the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational unfolds today at the Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club’s Aoki course in Gen. Trias, Cavite.
Carlos, who missed scoring his maiden win with a playoff setback to Clyde Mondilla at Eastridge three weeks ago, skipped the last leg at Calatagan, also ruled by Mondilla, but is confident of his chances this week over a course that requires length, accuracy and steady putting.
“The course seems to fit my eye well,” said Carlos, who closed out with 67 and 69 here to finish fourth in the PGT Q-School last December.
The former national champion drew a pair of long-hitting pros in Marvin Dumandan and Rufino Bayron in the 7:50 a.m. flight on No. 10 but if he plays true to form, he is expected to face Mondilla again in the last two rounds of the 72-hole championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Mondilla, chasing a rare three straight title romp, actually would stalk Carlos in the first two days as he tees off in a flight next to him at 8 a.m. with Elmer Salvador and club amateur Dan Cruz, giving the rising Del Monte star a chance to see the progress of Carlos’ game.
But a slew of talented players are also tipped to contend for the top P360,000 purse in the P2 million event serving as the seventh leg of this year’s circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., including Tony Lascuna, Jay Bayron, Rufino Bayron, Charles Hong, Jhonnel Ababa, jun Bernis, Michael Bibat, Cassius Casas, Mars Pucay and Orlan Sumcad.
Frankie Minoza also returns to action as he joins Lascuña, the last player to score three straight win in 2014, and Randy Garalde in the 7:50 a.m. flight on the first hole with Casas and Jay Bayron set in the next group at 8 a.m. with Chris delos Santos.
Like Mondilla and Carlos, Lascuña is also brimming with confidence coming off a third place finish at Calatagan but Luisita leg runaway winner stressed the need to polish his putting which he said would be the key to victory at Aoki.
“it will boil down to putting since we would be practically cancelling out in shotmaking and iron play,” said Lascuna, who enjoyed top form in 2014 where he racked up five victories, including three straight in Bacolod, Riviera and Southwoods.
Still, focus will be on Mondilla, who dominated the Calatagan field with an eight-stroke romp over Ababa and nine ahead of Lascuna.
“Clyde will probably contend but anyone can win here,” said Carlos.
They include a host of foreign bets, led by Japanese Syotaro Onuki, Dutch Guido Van der Valk, Koreans Charlie Chang, Soon Hyup Hong, Hwang Kang Youl, Kim In Jae and Thomas Kim, Japanese Ryoma Miki and Kei Takahashi, and Aussie Frederick Park.