A whopping P3.5 million purse, including the top P650,000 prize, will be up for grabs when the ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic is fired off April 23 at Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Dasmariñas, Cavite, making it the richest leg in the six-year history of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
The Sherwood leg is actually the first of four legs on the 16-stage circuit offering a total pot of P3.5 million with the next at the ICTSI Manila Masters on June 17-20 at Eastridge Golf Club in Binangonan, Rizal followed by the ICTSI Pilipinas Invitational at the Manila Southwoods on September 3 to 6.
The season-ending ICTSI Tournament Players’ Championship at Wack Wack will stage the last P3.5 million event on November 12 to 15.
Up next on the circuit, sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., is the ICTSI Valley Golf Challenge, a P2 million event on May 7 to 10 at the Valley Golf Club in Antipolo.
The third edition of The Duel, pitting the top players from Luzon against those from Visayas and Mindanao, will be held May 20 to 23, this time at the Cebu Country Club in Cebu City. Alabang Country Club hosted the first two Duels.
Although four of the country’s aces will not be joining the title hunt at Sherwood, the field remains as formidable as ever with seven in the top 10 rankings in the current ICTSI PGT Order of Merit rankings seeing action.
Jay Bayron, who rallied from behind to beat brother Rufino in the kickoff leg at ICTSI Splendido, and Jun Rates, who humbled the elite field to score a breakthrough witn at ICTSI John Hay Championship in Baguio, head the 81-player roster that includes foreign players Canadian Rick Gibson, Dutch Guido Van der Valk and Koreans Park Jin Hyeon and Park Jun Song.
Meanwhile, the leading pros test the wind-raked layout in the traditional pro-am on Tuesday (April 22) along with their amateur partners from the event’s chief backers, including Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Cleveland, Pacsports, Srixon, Callaway, Sharp and FootJoy and media partners Balls TV and ABS-CBN.
Others in the fold are Marvin Dumandan, who finished second to Tony Lascuna at Eagle Ridge, Clyde Mondilla, Frankie Minoza, Rufino Bayron and Charles Hong.
Lascuna, along with Angelo Que, Elmer Salvador and last year’s winner Miguel Tabuena will skip the event to compete in the Indonesian Masters of the Asian Tour also slated next week.
Others expected to crowd the fancied bets at Sherwood are Jhonnel Ababa, Ferdie Aunzo, Jessie Balasabas, Dante Becierra, Michael Bibat, Rico Depilo, Mhark Fernando, Anthony Fernando, James Ryan Lam, Rey Pagunsan and Mars Pucay.