One hundred thirty two players from at least 20 countries gear up for four days of grueling battle for 40-plus ties berths leading to high-stakes tournaments in the PGT Asia Qualifying School beginning on Wednesday at the Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac.
Twenty-six Thais and 17 Australians join the 30 locals and a slew of other international players chasing precious spots in the second season of the Philippine Golf Tour Asia, the huge field underlining the pull and appeal of the region’s newest circuit sponsored by ICTSI which offers $100,000 prize fund per leg.
The second PGT Asia fires off April 17 to 20, also at Luisita, with this week’s qualifiers joining the top 50 players from the inaugural PGTA Order of Merit ranking, led by OOM winner Miguel Tabuena, and the top 30 from the PGT OOM ranking.
From an eight-leg circuit, the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. has added two more events this year as part of ICTSI’s long-term commitment to help develop the game of the local pros and at the same time make the Philippines a leading international golfing destination.
From Luisita, the PGTA shifts to Riviera on May 30-June 2 with Manila Southwoods hosting the third leg on June 6-9 followed by Forest Hills on July 18-21. The fifth leg, a co-sanctioned event, will be held on July 25-28 at a still unspecified venue while Orchard will stage the next stop on Sept. 5-8 followed by the CAT Open back at Luisita on Sept. 11-14.
Action shifts back to the south for the eighth stop at Summit Point on Sept.2 5-28 then at Mt. Malarayat on Oct. 2-5 before winding up at Wack Wack on Nov. 21-24.
Ittiphat Buranatanyarat, Thammanoon Sriroj and Poosit Supupramai banner the crack Thai delegation out to repeat compatriot Pasavee Lertvilai’s feat last year where he capped a four-day run of under-par scores to beat American Seungjae Maeng by five for top honors.
Others tipped to contend for PGTA cards are Aussies Clayton Bridges, Sam Burrell, Jordan Cooper and Maximilian Duffy, Englishmen Joshua Grenville-Wood, Fredrik Edmunds and Benjamin David, Americans Sam Gillis, Dylan Healey, John Jackson and Cory Oride, and Koreans Park Jun Sung, Park Min Ung and Park Sang Min.
Leading the local bidders 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 Rufino Bayron, Robert Pactolerin, Reymon Jaraula, Jun Bernis and Tonlits Asistio.