Angelo Que hopes to ride the momentum of his runaway triumph at Anvaya last week although he would be heading to next week’s $400,000 Solaire Philippine Open with a different approach given the makeup of The Country Club layout, refurbished to world-class standard.
‘I’m pretty excited about the Philippine Open,” said Que, who romped off with a nine-stroke win over Japanese Toru Nakajima at the ICTSI Anvaya Cove Invitational last week, making him one of the marked players in the country’s premier championship set March 2-5.
“The (Anvaya) win was a big confidence-boost but I’ll be playing with a different mindset at TCC because it’s long,” said Que, a three-time winner on the Asian Tour, including the Philippine Open at Wack Wack in 2008.
TCC’s length could indeed be daunting, even for some of the region’s long-hitters, including Que. And with the wind expected to come into play in all four days, the battle for the top $72,000 purse in the 99th staging of the blue-ribbon event sponsored by Solaire Resort and Casino and held in cooperation with Meralco and PLDT may well turn out to be a survival of the fittest.
The way it did in the recent TCC Invitational, where 2015 Phl Open champion Miguel Tabuena rallied to edge Juvic Pagunsan by one with a staggering 13-over 301 total.
TCC’s length is pegged at 7652 yards and could measure up to 7735 with the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. opting to use three Tiger tees (farther from the Championship tees) on Nos. 9, 11 and 16.
Still, Que likes his chances, citing their recent stint at the TCC Invitational with the foreign bets expected to get the feel – or the wrath – of the course in their practice round early next week.
“My chances are pretty good since we played there before. The foreign challenge could try it out and let’s see,” said Que, who placed fourth at the Razon Cup, five strokes behind Tabuena at 306.
The foreign challenge also looks formidable with former Phl Open champions Marcus Both (2014) of Australia, Singaporean Mardan Mamat (2012) and Taiwanese Yeh Chang-ting (1993) headlining the cast, along with 2013 Solaire Open champion at Wack Wack Lin Wen Tang of Chinese Taipei and Asian Development Tour-PGT leg winners Arie Irawan and Gavin Green of Malaysia and Thai Ittiphat Buranatanyarat.
Though the 72-hole championship, which used to be the kickoff leg of the Asian Tour, won’t be part of the region’s premier circuit this year, the PGTI has lured a stellar international cast with the likes of Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, Pachara Khongwatmai, Jazz Janewattananon, Panuphol Pittayarat and Rattanon Wannasrichan of Thailand and Brazilian Adilson Da Silva, among the Top 25 in the early AT Order of Merit ranking, in the fold.
The event also serves as a prelude to the grand Centennial staging of the Philippine Open next year with the National Golf Association of the Philippines, the governing body of golf in the country, handing the PGTI, which also organizes the annual ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour and the Ladies PGT, the rights to hold the next two Philippine Open.
Other top ADT players competing are Brett Munson of the US, Panuwat Muenlek of Thailand, American John Catlin, Sam Chien of the US, Nicolas Fung of Malaysia, Himmat Rai of India, Scott Barr, Unho Park and Scott Hend of Australia, Michael Tran of Vietnam, and Thais Thaworn Wiratchant, Thammanoon Sriroj, Chawalit Plaphol and Poom Saksansin.