Malaysian ace Nicholas Fung and Singapore’s top gun Quincy Quek signed up for the $60,000 ICTSI Classic, adding more depth to an already formidable international field in the Asian Development Tour event beginning today at Mount Malarayat’s composite course in Lipa City, Batangas.
Fung, who missed last week’s Aboitiz Invitational won by Elmer Salvador, nipped former Philippine Open champion Berry Henson of the US by one to record his maiden ADT win in Templer Park Masters in Kuala Lumpur last June. He also placed second in the Glenmarie Masters last March and posted two other top 10 finishes to rank second behind two-leg winner James Bowen of the US in the current ADT Order of Merit ranking.
Quek, on the other hand, is shooting for his second ADT victory after coming from behind to beat Tony Lascuna and two others and snatch the ICTSI Orchard Championship last year on a final round 65 highlighted by a hole-in-one. He also wound up second to Scot James Byrne in this year’s ADT kickoff leg in Malaysia last February.
That makes the two 23-year-old shotmakers the players to watch in the 72-hole championship which offers a top purse of $10,500, along with the eight from the top 12 in the current ADT OOM standings, including No. 1 Bowen, Grant Jackson of England, Canada’s Lindsay Renolds, Japan’s Mitsuhiko Hashizume, Wolmer Murillo of Venezuela, Swede Malcolm Kokocinski, Aussie Darren Tan and Byrne.
They will be up against an equally talented local field, headed by Salvador, who ended a string of runner-up finishes on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour by retaining the Aboitiz Invitational at Cebu Country Club, becoming the first player to repeat as champ on the feeder circuit to the Asian Tour.
Frankie Miñoza’s entry also completes a stellar cast in this ninth leg of both the ADT and ICTSI PGT circuits with the former two-time Philippine Open champion and Asian Circuit’s top player gunning for a third straight victory after sweeping the ICTSI Del Monte and ICTSI Pueblo de Oro legs recently.
Que is also out to atone for his failed bid in Cebu with the three-time Asian Tour leg winner and former Philippine Open titlist raring to relive his glory days at Mt. Malarayat where he won back-to-back from 2009 on the ASEAN PGA Tour.
Lascuna, the reigning ICTSI PGT OOM champion, also hopes to nail his first ADT victory along with local circuit’s OOM frontrunner Miguel Tabuena and veteran campaigners Mars Pucay, Jay Bayron and Richard Sinfuego, Michael Bibat, Jhonnel Ababa, Rufino Bayron and young turks Carl Santos-Ocampo and Charles Hong.
Salvador, Fung and Quek, along with the other leading pros tested the wind-swept Mt. Malarayat layout in yesterday’s traditional pro-am where they were paired with guests and officials of the event’s chief backers, including Nike Golf, Srixon, Custom Clubmakers, Pacsports, Cleveland Golf, Callaway, Ping, Mizuno, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, FootJoy, Titleist, Sharp and BMW.
Jay Bayron primed up for the event by leading his team composed of Jon Capati, Nijay Punzalan and Patrick Capiz to victory in the pro-am with an 18-under 54, beating brother Rufino Bayron with Bob Lumba, Gabriel Avanceña and Lito Magsino by three.
Rufino Bayron and company pooled a 57 and nipped Jackson, Gerry Sy, Urbano Burgos and Arnel Paras in the countback for runner-up honors.