The P1-million ICTSI Pueblo de Oro Championship blasts off today with Frankie Miñoza shooting for back-to-back wins and Angelo Que out to make it two-for-two on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour at the Pueblo de Oro Golf and Country Club in Cagayan de Oro City.
Miñoza heads into this 54-hole championship riding the crest of his emphatic win at ICTSI Del Monte last week, fuelled by a brilliant closing nine-under 63 that turned a five-stroke deficit into a five-shot victory.
The veteran campaigner himself admitted that his Del Monte romp should all the more prop up his bid to nail another win as he primes up for his upcoming campaign in the Senior British Open two weeks from now.
“It’s actually a good start since I’ve already won two tournaments this year,” said Miñoza, who opened the season with a victory in The Country Club Invitational in February.
But he will be facing an equally fired-up field, including Que, who made a triumphant return on the local circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. with a dominant performance in the ICTSI Orchard Championship in May.
The former Philippine Open champion and three-time Asian Tour winner, however, skipped the first two legs of the Mindanao swing at Rancho Palos Verdes and Del Monte the past two weeks but signed up for this week’s seventh leg of the ICTSI-sponsored circuit, hopeful of scoring another victory.
Meanwhile, Elmer Salvador, the former OOM winner, primed himself up for a first victory by leading his team composed of Jeff Rolida, Vic Tiu and Amador Que Jr. to victory in the pro-am tournament with a 55.
They edged Tony Lascuna’s group of Marc Lu, Ryu Rolida and Tommy Jeong, who pooled a 56 while Mhark Fernando and amateur partners Marlon Santiago, Dennis Mijares and Rul Leonen placed third with a 57.
An early shootout among the big guns looms as they drew early tee-off’s with Que set to start at 7:10 a.m. with Salvador and Ferdie Aunzo on No. 1 and Miñoza in a flight behind at 7:20 a.m. with fellow veteran Cassius Casas and defending champion Charles Hong.
On No. 10, Lascuna, the ICTSI Calatagan leg runaway winner who had three runner-up finishes at Orchard, Palos Verdes and Del Monte, is pitted against ICTSI John Hay leg champion Jay Bayron in another marquee matchup with Jacques Van Tonder, one of the invited players from Africa, completing the 7:10 a.m. flight.
Michael Bibat, who scored a breakthrough win at Palos Verdes but struggled to finish joint ninth at Del Monte is also out to redeem himself although he drew a rather late tee-time of 11 a.m. on No. 1 with Edward Reyes and Carl Santos-Ocampo.