The ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour kicks off its new season next week with the P3.5 million ICTSI Anvaya Cove Invitational with an elite cast, headed by Philippine Open champion and PGT Order of Merit winner Miguel Tabuena, clashing for top honors at the wind-raked Anvaya Cove Golf and Sports Club course in Morong, Bataan.
Tabuena has made himself available, along with fellow Asian Tour campaigners Angelo Que and Tony Lascuña, for the blue-ribbon event set Feb. 10-13, guaranteeing a spirited battle for the top P650,000 purse in the 72-hole championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Que, a former three-time Asian Tour winner, set a new course record eight-under 64 in the final round to beat Lascuña by three for the inaugural Anvaya Cove crown last year. But the two veteran campaigners, along with the rest of the cast, are expected to take the backseat in the upcoming event for the rising 21-year-old shotmaker.
Tabuena is enjoying top form following a brilliant 2015 season, where he dominated the local circuit with four victories before capping it with a Philippine Open title romp at Luisita last December.
He actually opened the new season with a strong joint fourth finish in last week’s Singapore Open of the Asian Tour and Japan PGA Tour, finishing just three shots back off winner Younghan Song and two behind world No. 1 Jordan Spieth.
That makes Tabuena, who tied fourth with Mars Pucay here last year, the player to beat at Anvaya although he will be as much tested as the rest of the field on a seaside course that varies in character in every swirl of the wind.
Others tipped to contend for the championship in the tournament, organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by Adidas, TaylorMade, Pacsports Phils., Custom Clubmakers, KZG, Sharp and Anvaya Cove Golf and Sports Club., are Cassius Casas, Frankie Minoza, Jay Bayron, Rufino Bayron, Orlan Sumcad, Michael Bibat, Jun Rates, Arnold Villacencio, Clyde Mondilla and a host of foreign challengers.
Meanwhile, 66 foreign players are vying for 15 slots for this year’s PGT circuit in the four-day Q-School which got under way yesterday at the Royal Northwoods Golf and Country Club in San Rafael, Bulacan.
The top 40 players plus ties after two rounds will advance to the final 36 holes with the top 15 to be included in Category 8 while those ending up 16th to 25th will be included in Category 10.