Dominated by the locals in the first three legs, the crack foreign field aims to end the Filipinos’ surge in the PGT Asia Tour when the fourth leg is fired off Wednesday (Nov. 15) for the ICTSI Wack Wack Championship at WW East.
Pasavee Lertvilai banners the 48 foreign entries from 16 countries in the $100,000 event with the Thai shotmaker out to atone for his playoff setback to unheralded Rene Menor in the second leg of the region’s newest circuit at Splendido last September.
Wisut Artjanawat, another Thai entry who placed seventh in the kickoff leg at Wack Wack won by Miguel Tabuena, and Manila-based Dutchman Guido Van der Valk, who wound up sixth at Riviera topped by Clyde Mondilla, are also in the fold, both raring to slug it out with the local top guns on a tight course that requires accuracy more than length.
Young American Micah Shin, and James Bowen, Paul Harris and Lexus Keoninh, also of the US, Dengshan Koh and Choo Tze Huang of Singapore, Aussies David Gleeson, Andrew Campbell and Rick Coleman are the other foreign entries tipped to contend for the top $17,500 purse in the 72-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
But they face another uphill battle against the fired-up local crew with Tabuena, Menor and Mondilla back in pursuit of a second crown and a slew of others all primed up for a crack at the title, including Tony Lascuña, Jay Bayron, Elmer Salvador, Jhonnel Ababa, Charles Hong, Zanieboy Gialon, Ferdie Aunzo, Orlan Sumcad, Mhark Fernando, Gerald Rosales and Marvin Dumandan.
Also fancied to figure prominently in the title race in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc. are the country’s young guns, led by Justin Quiban, Jobim Carlos, Ira Alido and Keanu Jahns, on the other hand, head the young guns in the 72-hole championship
Meanwhile, the Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac, where Tabuena has also racked up a number of titles, including the Philippine Open in 2015, will host the next PGTA leg on Nov. 29-Dec. 2.
ICTSI, which revived the local pro golf circuit in 2009 and turned it to become Southeast Asia’s largest national circuit, will also put up a total prize of US$1.7 million in 2018 and US$2 million in 2019 with plans to further increase the purse in the future.