The ICTSI National Pro-am Open fires off today with a full-packed field of 117 teams made up of the top pros and amateurs in the land and a host of foreign aces slugging it out at the Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa City, Batangas.
Newly crowned Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit winner Clyde Mondilla heads the pro cast in the 54-hole P2 million event where he hopes to extend his run of victories in individual play to team competition with amateur partner Dongbin Seo.
But the duo will be in for a tough outing right in the first round of the foursomes (alternate shot) with the rest raring to come up with a strong start for the needed momentum in the three-day championship sponsored by ICTSI and offering P360,000 to the pro champion and trophy and gift prizes for the amateur.
Other teams tipped to figure prominently in the title hunt are 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.
Focus will also be on the long-hitting Marvin Dumandan, who has tapped back-to-back Philippine Junior Amateur Open (strokeplay) champion Tom Kim as partner in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., which now serves as one of the side events on the PGT calendar, along with The Duel held every other year.
Pauline del Rosario, who has won three titles in her rookie season on the Ladies PGT, is also in the fold, eager to show up the country’s top guns along with Chihiro Ikeda, Sarah Ababa, Apple Fudolin, Eva Minoza, Gretchen Villacencio and Sheryl Villasencio.
Del Rosario, enjoying top form following a come-from-behind victory in the Taiwan LPGA last month, will team up with young Annyka Cayabyab while Ikeda and Ababa will partner with Quintin Singson and Alrey Ceniza, respectively.
Two shotgun starts are set at 6:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to accommodate the huge field with the top 40 teams after 36 holes advancing to the finals of the event also staged in recognition of the amateurs’ role in boosting Philippine golf.
Other fancied teams in the event, backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc., 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.