Southlinks Golf Club, the newest course on Daang Hari Road in Alabang, gets the chance to host big-time tournaments as it stages the P3.5 million ICTSI Tournament Players’ Championship on November 11 to 14 featuring the cream of the country’s pro crop and a slew of amateur aces.
The event serves as the final leg of the 16-stage ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour with the par-72 layout providing some kind of a surprise for the men of the tour with its small greens, deep pot bunkers and narrow fairways.
That will put premium on accuracy and putting as the elite field vies for the top P650,000 purse in the 72-hole championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Arnold Villacencio and Clyde Mondilla, who scored their maiden wins in the last two legs at ICTSI Summit and ICTSI Canlubang Invitational, respectively, hope to make it two before the season winds up and improve their ranking in the Order of Merit.
Villacencio, who nipped young ace Miguel Tabuena in a playoff to score a breakthrough in Batangas, has moved up to No. 11 with earnings of P870,850 but is expecting to break into the Top 10 with a win or a solid finish in the upcoming event backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports Phils. Inc., Srixon, Callaway, Mizuno, Empire Golf, Footjoy, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp, KZG and Rudy Project.
Mondilla, who beat Villacencio and three others to finally reign in Canlubang after losing on the second extra hole to Cassius Casas last year, is now at No. 8 with P933,910 in winnings.
The tour’s other big guns, including Tony Lascuña, Elmer Salvador and Tabuena, are also expected to re-join the final leg of the circuit which promises to be a wide-open race given the course condition and the depth of the competing field.
Also out to come up with a follow-up to their earlier victories are ICTSI Iloilo le winner Casas, Sherwood Hills champion Charles Hong, Asian Development Tour’s ICTSI Orchard Championship winner Rufino Bayron, Splendido stage champion Jay Bayron, Royal Northwoods champion Zanie Boy Gialon and John Hay leg titlist Jun Rates.
Seeking to end the season with a win, meanwhile, are Marvin Dumandan, Jhonnel Ababa, Mars Pucay, Mhark Fernando, Anthony Fernando, Benjie Magada, Robert Pactolerin, Orlan Sumcad, Micah Shin, Michael Bibat, Ferdie Aunzo and Jessie Balasabas.
Lascuña has dominated this year’s circuit with five victories, topping the ICTSI Eagle Ridge leg last April and ICTSI Valley Challenge last May then stringing up three straight wins at ICTSI Negros Occidental in Bacolod, Aboitiz Invitational at Riviera and ICTSI Pilipinas Invitational at Southwoods.