Clyde Mondilla tries to bring his winning act in individual play to team competition as he partners with Dongbin Seo in the ICTSI National Pro-Am Open unfolding Tuesday at the Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa City, Batangas.
Mondilla swept the Riviera Classic of the PGT Asia Tour and the Philippine Golf Tour season-ending ICTSI Players Championship to clinch his first PGT Order of Merit title. But the young Del Monte ace, and Seo, will be facing a crack field of challengers in the inaugural staging of the P2 million event that also features the country’s leading and rising amateurs along with top club campaigners.
Among the early favorites in the battle for the top P360,000 purse in the three-day event are the Jobim Carlos-Lester Lagman, Keanu Jahns-Zach Castro, Jhonnel Ababa-Dave Hernandez, Richnell Albano-Eddie Bagtas, Tonton Asistio-Jude Eustaquio, Jelbert Gamolo-Jolo Magcalayo and Jesselito Zaragosa-Rupert Zaragosa pairs.
Play will be foursomes (alternate shot format) with the top 40 teams after 36 holes advancing to the finals, according to the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. The winning pro will pocket P360,000 while the top amateur will receive trophy and gift prizes.
The tournament will cap the PGT season and now serves as one of the side events on the PGT calendar, along with the Ryder Cup-style The Duel held every other year.
The event is also staged in recognition of the amateurs’ role in boosting Philippine golf and at the same time provide them the exposure they need as they hone up for the pro ranks.
Also in the 117-team fold are Jay Bayron-Arnold Duay, Jerson Balasabas-Ernesto Lim, Ferdie Aunzo-George Ponasen, Mhark Fernando-Nico Sevilla, Zanieboy Gialon-Jojo Enrile, Rey Pagunsan-Oliver Gan, Korean Park Jun Sung-Carlo Canicosa, Mars Pucay-Jose Roy III, Elmer Salvador-Martin Guiang, and Orlan Sumcad-Arnie Fuentebella.
The National Pro-Am staging comes on the heels of the PGTI’s successful launching of the PGT Asia Tour, an eight-leg regional circuit put up by ICTSI to further the growth of Philippine golf and help produce world-class players.
After three legs, the PGTA will resume on Nov. 15-18 for the ICTSI Wack Wack Championship with Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac hosting the fifth stop on Nov. 29-Dec. 2 and the sprawling Pradera Verde Golf and Country Club in Lubao, Pampanga staging the year-end tournament in mid-December. All events offer a total pot of $100,000.
In 2018, the PGTI said a total of US$1.7 million will be staked and in 2019 US$2 million with plans to further increase the purse in the future.
An additional 10 events for each of the next two years are also being finalized and talks to hold future legs in other parts of Asia, particularly Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, are also ongoing.