The men of the tour resumes their hunt for honors and fortune on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour today, each hoping to come up with a strong start in tough condition for the needed momentum in the P1 million ICTSI Canlubang Golf Invitational at Cangolf’s North course in Laguna.
Premium will be on power as the field tackles the par-72 layout playing longer than its 6,872 yardage due rains the past few days, including yesterday’s downpour that forced the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. to cancel the traditional pro-am tournament.
With the lift, clean and place rule in effect, long hitters could cash in on their advantage although it still depends on their approach and short game that could make or break each player’s bid for the top P200,000 purse in the penultimate leg of the 15-stage circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Mhark Fernando, seeking a follow-up to his three-shot romp in last month’s ICTSI Riviera Classic, draws veteran campaigner Robert Pactolerin and title hungry Randy Garalde in the 8 a.m. flight on No. 10 while defending champion Zanie Boy Gialon will start at the front at 7:50 a.m. in the company of early title favorites Jhonnel Ababa and Cassius Casas.
Jessie Balasabas, out to improve on his runner-up finish to Fernando at Riviera, gets going at 7:50 a.m. at the back with power-hitter Orlan Sumcad and Dutch Guido Van der Valk while Mars Pucay hopes to set in motion his bid for a long-deserved victory in the 8:30 a.m. flight on No. 10 with ICTSI Tagaytay Midlands Challenge runaway winner Carl Santos-Ocampo and Rufino Bayron.
The absence of the big guns, led by reigning Order of Merit champion and current OOM frontrunner Tony Lascuna, Miguel Tabuena, Elmer Salvador, Angelo Que and Jay Bayron, who are all playing in India Open, makes the title race doubly interesting with Fernando easily the marked man owing to his impressive victory at Riviera.