The PGT Asia Tour holds its third leg beginning today with the ICTSI Riviera Classic looming to be a survival of the fittest given the weather condition at the demanding Langer layout of the Riviera Golf and Country Club in Cavite.
The organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. said the $100,000 championship is pushing through with the par-72 ravine-laced layout still playable despite the incessant rains spawned by Typhoon Maring.
“Despite the rain, the course is still playable and we’ll push through with the tournament as much as possible then we’ll decide tomorrow (today) if we need to cancel the first round. Then we’ll go on from there,” said Jack Imperial, tournament director of the event sponsored by ICTSI.
The many-time champion is actually one of a slew of local aces seeking to rebound from disastrous final day stints at Splendido where unheralded Rene Menor came out from nowhere to nail a first-ever championship in record fashion.
Rufino Bayron, who led by four in the third round, skied to an 80 and tumbled to joint 13th with Mars Pucay, who limped with a 76. Clyde Mondilla missed bogeyed the final hole for a 70 and settled for joint fourth.
As the big guns crumbled, Menor sneaked in from six down to force a three-man playoff with a 66 then disposed American John Michael O’Toole on the first sudden hole and outlasted Thai Pasavee Lertvilai on the sixth playoff hole to clinch the victory.
Meanwhile, Indonesian Ian Andrew and Seungjae Maeng of the US boost this week’s cast that also features those who vied at Splendido, all bracing for severe weather condition at one of the most toughest courses in the land.
Andrew slugged it out with Miguel Tabuena and Angelo Que in the PGT Asia Tour kickoff leg at Southwoods last month but faded in the closing holes and settled for third. He skipped last week’s event but looked poised to crowd the local aces for this week’s chase for the top $17,500 purse.
Meanwhile, the fourth stop of the region’s newest circuit, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc., will be held on Nov. 15-18 at Wack Wack while Luisita will host the next leg on Nov. 29-Dec. 2 for the CAT (Central Azucarera de Tarlac) Open.