Elmer Salvador and Miguel Tabuena decided to join the title chase in the ICTSI Summit Point Golf Classic, guaranteeing a shootout among the top guns and the young turks in the P1 million event firing off today at the Summit Point Golf Club in Batangas.
The duo’s participation assures that all but one in the Top 10 of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour’s Order of Merit ranking are seeing action in the 72-hole championship, making it a star-studded and action-packed one with the top three coming off the Asian Tour campaign.
OOM leader Tony Lascuña, reeling from two heartbreaking runner-up finishes, including a playoff loss, in four tournaments on the Asian circuit last month, tries to nail it here as he shoots for his fifth leg victory on the tour sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
He drew the 7:50 a.m. tee-off at No. 1 with ICTSI Royal Northwoods winner Zanie Boy Gialon and veteran Asian Tour campaigner Mars Pucay, who is also out to snap a long title spell in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Salvador, running second in the OOM race and winner of the ICTSI Rivera Classic of the Asian Development Tour last May, will start at No. 10 at 8:30 a.m. in the company of ICTSI John Hay leg champion Jun Rates and Asean PGA Tour leg winner and No. 9 Jhonnel Ababa.
Tabuena, No. 3 in the OOM standing who also lost in sudden death in the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Taiwan last month, will also kick off his title drive at the back at 7:40 a.m. along with ICTSI Splendido leg winner and No. 5 Jay Bayron and former leg champion Michael Bibat.
No. 4 Charles Hong, who ruled the ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic, is paired with young gun Clyde Mondilla and Dutch ace Guido Van der Valk in the 8:10 a.m. flight on No. 10 while No. 5 Rufino Bayron, winner of ADT’s ICTSI Orchard Championship, will tee-off at 8:20 a.m. on No. 1 with Anthony Fernando and the big-hitting Orlan Sumcad.
No. 6 Cassius Casas, who broke a long title slump with a victory at ICTSI Iloilo last July, also hopes to come up with a strong start in the 8 a.m. flight on No. 10 with Mhark Fernando and Richard Abaring while No. 10 Marvin Dumandan drew Artemio Murakami and John Kier Abdon in the 7:30 a.m. group on No. 1.
Only No. 8 Angelo Que is missing among the Top 10 with the three-time Asian Tour leg winner opting to take a much-needed rest after a grueling, winless campaign abroad the last six weeks.
But with Lascuña, Salvador and Tabuena in the fold, along with the rest of the fancied bets, the battle for the top P200,000 purse in the event, backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports Phils. Inc., Srixon, Callaway, Mizuno, Empire Golf, Footjoy, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp and KZG, could go down to the last hole, to the last putt.
“It’s anybody’s race. Given the depth of the field, the key here is to have a strong start and a stronger finish,” said Lascuna, easily the player to beat with four victories this year, including three straight at Bacolod, Riviera and Southwoods.