Regaining his winning form, Clyde Mondilla sets out as the player to beat when the Philippine Golf Tour resumes on Wednesday, for the P2 million ICTSI Splendido Classic at the wind-swept Splendido Taal Golf and Country Club in Tagaytay.
Miguel Tabuena and Angelo Que, who finished 1-2 here last year, won’t be around to compete against some of the world’s best in the Omega European Masters also slated this week in Switzerland, leaving Mondilla and a slew of local aces and foreign bets to fight for the top P360,000 purse in the 14th leg of the circuit sponsored by ICTSI.
Mondilla turned what had appeared to be a losing stand into a winning act, foiling Orlan Sumcad to snare the ICTSI Classic crown despite a double-bogey on the first playoff hole in Lipa City, Batangas last weekend.
The 23-year-old Mondilla hit an errant drive and needed four shots to reach the 18th of Mt. Malipunyo but Sumcad overshot the par-4 playoff hole and went out-of-bounds and made it to the green in five, enabling the Del Monte ace to snatch the victory, his third counting his back-to-back feats at Eastridge and Calatagan.
But the playoff setback is expected to toughen up Sumcad as he resumes his quest for a breakthrough victory in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
With Jay Bayron, Tony Lascuña and Marvin Dumandan, the next top three players at ICTSI Classic, also out to press their bid along with a host of others, another down-to-the-wire finish is expected in the 72-hole championship.
Mondilla, Sumcad, Bayron, Lascuña and Dumandan, along with 15 other top pros test the tough Splendido layout in today’s (Tuesday) tradition pro-am tournament where they will be paired with guests and officials of the event’s top backers, including Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.
Others tipped to contend are Dutch Guido Van der Valk, Japanese Toru Nakajima, Jobim Carlos, Jhonnel Ababa, Mhark Fernando, Elmer Salvador, Michael Bibat, Rufino Bayron, Mars Pucay and Cassius Casas.
Meanwhile, Mondilla’s latest victory also put him on No. 2 spot in the Order of Merit derby with total earnings of P2,365,687 with leader Lascuña, who placed fourth at ICTSI Classic, hiking his winnings to P2,585,948.
Bayron dropped to third but remained in the hunt for a second OOM title with P2,183,028 with three legs left in the season.
The tour shifts to Luisita in Tarlac for the second time this year for the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Open on Sept. 14-17 before winding up at Wack Wack for the ICTSI Tournament Players Championship on September 21 to 24.