Angelo Que will be the marked player when the men of the Philippine Golf Tour resumes their title hunt in the ICTSI Manila Masters unfolding on April 5 at the up-and-down Eastridge Golf Club in Binangonan, Rizal.
Que romped off with a nine-stroke win over Japanese Toru Nakajima in the circuit’s kickoff leg at Anvaya last February with the former three-time Asian Tour winner brimming with confidence heading to the P3 million event despite coming off a long break after the Solaire Philippine Open at The Country Club last month.
Though he wound up way behind at joint 21st in the country’s premier championship, Que remains upbeat of his chances this week, eager to build an early streak and some momentum for the resumption of his Japan PGA Tour campaign next week.
Que actually won the Manila Masters crown two years ago, edging Ferdie Aunzo by two but struggled to finish tied for sixth in last year’s edition of the event won by Clyde Mondilla via playoff over Jobim Carlos.
But Que will have a slew of tough rivals to face, including reigning Order of Merit champion Tony Lascuña, Jay Bayron, Elmer Salvador and Zanieboy Gialon from the local side and a host of foreign challengers, headed by Nakajima, Nicolas Paez of the US, Korean-American Micah Shin and resident Dutch campaigner Guido Van der Valk.
The event, sponsored by ICTSI and backed by BDO, KZG, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Sharp, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and PLDT, also drew Aussie Jason Dawes, Americans Elliot Huwe and John Jackson, Macedonian Peter Stojanovski and Korean Park Jun Sung along with sponsors invitees Sam Chien, Paul Harris Josh Salah and John Michael O’Toole of the US and Swede Daniel Ekegren.
Meanwhile, the leading pros prime up for the championship and the top P550,000 purse tomorrow (Tuesday) as they team up with officials and guests of the event’s chief backers in the traditional pro-am tournament.
The ICTSI Manila Masters also serves as a prelude to the three-leg Asian Development Tour at Luisita on May 3-6, Orchard on May 10-13 and Manila Southwoods on May 17-20.
The organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. will also revive the Philippine Masters, one of the country’s four majors in the 90s, on May 24-27 at its home at Villamor Golf Club with Calatagan staging the seventh leg on June 7-10 and Forest Hills hosting the next stop on June 21 to 4.