Clyde Mondilla seeks to formalize his claim on his first Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit title as he heads the cast in the circuit’s final leg in the ICTSI Players Championship, which begins on Tuesday at the Summit Point Golf Club in Lipa City, Batangas.
The PGT’s 10th and final stop turns out to be a coronation tournament for Mondilla with rivals Tony Lascuña, Miguel Tabuena and Angelo Que all skipping the P3 million event sponsored by ICTSI to honor previous commitments abroad.
Mondilla, who placed second to Lascuña in last year’s OOM derby, leads the chase with earnings of P2,606,409 behind three victories, including the recent ICTSI Riviera Classic, which also served as the third leg of the inaugural PGT Asia Tour.
Lascuña, with two victories and a slew of top five finishes, is in second with P2,566,543 in winnings but has given up his OOM bid by signing up for the Taiwan Masters also slated this week.
Tabuena, at No. 3 with P1,909,705 in winnings, is also competing in Taiwan, while the fourth-running Que, with P1,600,525 in earnings, is seeing action in Japan.
This practically hands the OOM crown to Mondilla as the fifth-running Jhonnel Ababa, even if he pockets the top P550,000 purse this week, won’t come close with only P1,585,345 in earnings.
But the 24-year-old Mondilla has vowed to go all out for another victory although he expects the rest to come out strong and foil him, guaranteeing a spirited battle in all four days of the championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Zanieboy Gialon, recent PGTA ICTSI Riviera winner Rene Menor, Michael Bibat and veterans Jay Bayron, the 2015 Summit leg winner, and Elmer Salvador, the next four players in the current OOM ranking, are all raring to go and improve on their respective finishes and build some confidence as they shift their campaign on the PGTA after the PGT circuit.
A slew of foreign aces are also in the fold, all ready to sneak in a victory in the circuit backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc.
They include Americans Elliot Hume and Lexus Keoninh, Koreans Hwang Myung Chal, Kim Jun Sik, Park Jun Sung and Lee Hyeon Tae, Australians Nathan Park and Ian Tonumaipe’a and Japanese Seiji Yanagisawa.
Others vying in the 72-hole championship are Ira Alido, Jobim Carlos, Ferdie Aunzo, Jessie Balasabas, Rufino Bayron, Cassius Casas, Marvin Dumandan, Anthony Fernando, Mhark Fernando, Keanu Jahns, James Ryan Lam and Arnold Villacencio, winner here in 2014.