Tony Lascuña is back on the winning track, Miguel Tabuena is back in the hunt while the Asian Development Tour campaigners are back for a repeat of their sweep of last year’s ADT events, guaranteeing a fierce battle in the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship ADT starting today at the Legends course in Carmona, Cavite.
Sixteen former ADT leg titlists, including four winners of this year’s ADT’s first nine legs, are in the fold, all eager to upstage the local aces on the par-71 layout in what promises to be a shootout in extreme heat as they seek to extend their domination of the ADT events here after Malaysian Arie Irawan ruled the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational and Itthipat Buranatanyarat of Thailand topped the ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic last year.
Buranatanyarat, in fact, is back to lead the foreign charge with the 22-year-old Thai, winner of the ADT Players Championship in Singapore last January, priming up for his title defense at Sherwood next week. Others in the hunt are American Josh Salah, who bagged the PGT Raham Putra Championship in Malaysia, Japanese Shunya Takeyasu, winner of the PGM UMW Championship, also in Malaysia, and John Michael O’Toole, also of the US, who clinched the PGM Clearwater Masters crown last month.
But the local bets are much as upbeat as their foreign counterparts with Lascuña and Tabuena heading the hosts’ title drive along with Clyde Mondilla, Jay Bayron, Cassius Casas, Elmer Salvador and rookie pros Jobim Carlos and Justin Quiban.
The pairings in the first two rounds of the 72-hole championship are potential hits with Lascuña, the former three-time ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit champion and winner of the ICTSI Luisita Championship two weeks ago, drawing O’Toole and Takeyasu in the 8 a.m. flight on No. 10.
“This is going to be tough but I’m ready and I’m sure the other local guys are all prepared too,” said Lascuña, hoping to ride the momentum of his runaway victory at Luisita and cash in on his local knowledge of the bunker-laden layout.
The intense summer heat, according to Lascuña, could also slow down the field, particularly the foreigners, although he maintained putting will be the key to victory in the first of two ADT events, the other being the ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic next week.
“The heat, for sure, will be a big factor but I think it will boil down to putting,” said Lascuña, who also expects Tabuena to make an early charge following his abbreviated stint at Luisita where he was the top favorite.
Tabuena, the reigning local OOM winner who had to withdraw in the second round at Luisita due to an aching back, is now in top shape and is raring to slug it out with Salah and Buranatanyarat at 12:15 p.m. on No. 1 in a pair of action-packed opener in the $60,000 event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and co-sanctioned by the ADT and PGT and backed by
Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Sharp, Summit, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade and Champion.
Bayron, the former ADT OOM winner, will play alongside Finland’s Janne Kaske and the long-hitting Orlan Sumcad at 12:05 p.m., also on the first hole; Casas drew Thai Chanat Sakulpolphaisan and India’s Chikkarangappa at 11:55 a.m. on No. 1; and Salvador, also a former two-time ADT leg winner, plays with Mondilla and Malaysian Gavin Green at 7:50 a.m. on No. 10.
Carlos, the multi-titled amateur who missed the cut in his pro debut at Luisita, is out to redeem himself while Quiban is brimming with confidence following a strong, impressive joint third effort at Luisita and playing on a course he calls home.