Frankie Miñoza returns today in time for the rich ICTSI Classic beginning on Wednesday, July 31, at Mount Malarayat in Lipa City, Batangas, hoping to resume a streak abruptly halted by his stint in The Senior British Open Championship in England.
Miñoza confirmed his entry in the $60,000 event while playing against the world top seniors at Royal Birkdale last week, eager to rejoin the local top guns in their hunt for title against a number of foreign aces and pick up where he left off two weeks ago.
The former two-time Philippine Open champion flashed vintage form and routed the field to reign at ICTSI Del Monte and ICTSI Pueblo de Oro for consecutive weeks but missed the Aboitiz Invitational in Cebu to honor a commitment to play in The Senior Open.
He impressed the field with an opening 68 but faltered with 78, 72 and 77 to finish joint 61st at 295.
Back on the local turf, Miñoza is again tipped to contend for the crown and the top purse of $10,500 although he will be facing a field toughened up by a number of foreign aces out to rebound from their setback in Cebu last week.
Elmer Salvador nearly lost a three-shot lead with one hole left but tapped in for bogey to nip Angelo Que, who holed out with a birdie, by one and clinch the Aboitiz Invitational crown for the second straight Year.
Carl Santos-Ocampo placed third to complete the Filipinos’ domination of the Asian Development Tour leg with England’s Ian Keenan, Korean Park Il-Hwan and Dutch Guido Van der Valk finishing tied for fourth.
Other foreign players in the event, serving as the ninth leg of both the ADT and the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour, are American Brian Locke, Canadian Lindsay Renolds and Peter Richardson, also of England.
The leading pros test the wind-raked composite Mt. Malarayat layout in today’s pro-am tournament where they will be 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.
Meanwhile, Salvador moved up to No. 2 in the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit ranking with earnings of P842,956 with Miguel Tabuena, who won at ICTSI Sherwood and placed second at ICTSI John Hay, still pacing the field with P989,043.
Que, who dominated the ICTSI Orchard Championship and placed third at ICTSI Pueblo de Oro, has piled up earnings of P837,546 for third followed by Tony Lascuna, the runaway winner at ICTSI Calatagan, who has P814,597, Jay Bayron (P738,870), Santos-Ocampo (P549,832), Frankie Minoza (P466,700), Michael Bibat (P441,254), Jhonnel Ababa (P411,970) and Edward Reyes (P411,849).