Back in winning form, Clyde Mondilla goes for back-to-back when the Philippine Golf Tour resumes with the revival of the ICTSI Philippine Masters beginning on Wednesday (May 24) at its home at the Villamor Golf Club in Pasay.
Mondilla, 24, pulled off a big victory last Saturday, upending the country’s top two players—Miguel Tabuena and Tony Lascuña—to snare the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship by one, making him the player to watch at the Masters which is making its big comeback after 17 years.
Cassius Casas last won the fabled event in 2000 when Mondilla was barely a kid.
But the Del Monte lad has since become a national player and now a star in the pro ranks and his big comeback from a so-so start in the season, marred by two missed cut stints at the Solaire Philippine Open and at the ICTSI Manila Masters, makes him more than ready for another challenge.
Even from the former Masters themselves – including many-time champion and king of Villamor Robert Pactolerin, Rodrigo Cuello and Casas.
Pactolerin, Casas and Cuello will surely be the sentimental favorites but a new breed has since emerged in Philippine golf with Mondilla’s surge that included a runner-up finish at Orchard two weeks ago, underscoring his readiness to shoot for another championship.
Although Tabuena will not be around to compete in the European Tour, the field remains formidable with Lascuña leading the roster along with fellow veterans Jay Bayron, Elmer Salvador, Gerald Rosales, Mars Pucay, Rey Pagunsan, Benjie Magada, Jhonnel Ababa, Marvin Dumandan and Mhark Fernando.
Young local turks are also expected to crowd Mondilla and the other big guns, including Ira Alido, Jobim Carlos and Keanu Jahns, ensuring another thrilling finish in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by ICTSI, BDO, KZG, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Sharp, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and PLDT.
The foreign challengers, eased out of the Top 6 at Southwoods after a dominant campaign last year where no local players finished in the Top 12, are also out to redeem themselves at the Masters, including American s Lexus Keoninh, Paul Harris and Nicolas Paez, Korean Park Jun Sung, Dutch Guido Van der Valk, Macedonian Peter Stojanovski and Aussies Nathan Park, Jason Dawes and David Gleeson.