The Asian Development Tour’s $60,000 ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational unfolds today with the local aces slugging it out with the region’s rising stars, hoping to match their shotmaking skills and cash in on the proverbial “homecourt” advantage under summer heat at the Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club in Gen. Trias, Cavite.
Tony Lascuna drew ADT Langkawi leg winner Wilson Choo of Malaysia and former leg champion Brent Munson of the US; Angelo Que is paired with Amercian Sam Cyr and Aussie David Gleezon; while Miguel Tabuena sets out with Thai Itthipat Buranatanyarat and Micah Shin of the US in three of the featured flights kicking off the 72-hole championship.
The country’s top three players drew late tee-times and expect no less than a shootout with their foreign counterparts, who are also raring to put an end to the locals’ domination of the ADT legs following a three-leg sweep last year by Lascuna, Rufino Bayron and Elmer Salvador.
The par-72 Aoki layout, one of the four championship courses inside the sprawling ERGCC complex, has been spruced up to championship condition and to ADT standard, guaranteeing a spirited battle for the top $10,500 purse in the event co-organized by ADT and Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“Our local players can hold their own against the foreign long-hitters but the heat will play a big factor that will favor the locals,” said Eagle Ridge golf manager Raymond Bunquin, adding that Aoki greens are fairly fast in most holes.
Munson, meanwhile, served notice of his title bid when he powered his team composed of amateurs Arnel Paras, Roger Crespo and Rey Santos to victory in yesterday’s pro-am tournament with a 19-under 53 total, edging Cassius Casas, Brian Kim, Bobby Chico and Raymond Bunquin by two.
Mars Pucay, winner of the TPC leg of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour last year, and partners George Samonte, Dante Felizarta and Cesar Castro pooled a 56 to finish third in the 18-hole event which featured the leading pros and amateur guests of the event’s chief backers, including ICTSI, Aboitiz, Srixon, Callaway, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, Nike Golf, TaylorMade, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp, Omnisource and Silicon Computer and Telecoms, Inc.
“I’ve been working on my putting stroke the last few weeks and I hope to do well in the next four days,” said Lascuna, who won five legs last year, including the Aboitiz Invitational at Riviera, his first ADT victory, and the all-local Eagle Ridge Tour Proper. He will start at 12 noon on No. 1.
Que and Tabuena, on the other hand, are also upbeat of their respective chances after opening the season with victories at the Eastridge and Splendido legs, respectively, of the ICTSI PGT with the former set to start at 12 noon on No. 10 and the latter a t11:50 a.m. on No. 1.
Rufino Bayron, who ended a long search for victory with a romp at ADT Orchard last year, opens his bid against Japan’s Masaru Takahashi and Thai Panuwat Muenlek at 7:30 a.m. on No. 10, while Salvador, a three-time ADT winner, including the Riviera Classic last year, will play alongside Englishman Nick Redfern and Thai Thammanoon Sriroj at 7:10 a.m., also at the backside.
Casas, winner of two events last year, including The Country Club Invitational, drew Thai Attaphon Sriboonkaew and American James Bowen at 7 a.m., also on No. 10, while Pucay clashes with ADT Sime Darby leg winner Arie Irawan of Malaysia and Scot James Bryne.