Titleholder Miguel Tabuena hopes to be formidably armed when he sets out against the best of the best in the rich The Country Club Invitational unfolding February 14 at the TCC course in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
A joint eighth place effort in the Singapore Open and a tied for 14th finish in the Myanmar Open last month put Tabuena’s buildup for the P5 million event in motion with the former Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit winner further honing up in the ongoing Malaysian Open.
He is also scheduled to play in another tournament in Australia before slugging it out with the cream of the local pro crop in what has long been considered as one of the country’s major championships for its prize fund and elite cast featuring the top 30 players in the 2017 PGT OOM ranking.
The young gun edged three-time TCC winner Juvic Pagunsan on the final hole in last year’s finale and his recent strong showing has made him the marked player in the 72-hole championship held in honor of ICTSI founder Don Pocholo Razon.
Tabuena pooled a 13-over 301 total at the wind-ranked Tom Weiskoph-designed layout to nail his first TCC crown but the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. sees a better output this time with the stellar field coming into the event in top shape following the conclusion of the sixth and seventh legs of the PGT Asia last month.
That includes Jhonnel Ababa, also the man to watch after sweeping the last two PGTA tournaments at Eagle Ridge and Pradera Verde although he will be as much tested as the rest of the field on a long, demanding course that changes in character in every swirl of the wind.
The upcoming event, put up by ICTSI president/chairman Ricky Razon in 2003, will also officially kick off the 2018 PGT and Ladies PGT season with the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational set next month. The LPGT actually started its new season with legs at Ayala Greenfield and Beverly Place last month.
Meanwhile, the TCC Invitational list includes Angelo Que with fellow three-time winner Juvic Pagunsan still to confirm his participation. Other former titlists vying for the top P1.5 million purse are Tony Lascuña, Frankie Miñoza and Artemio Murakami.
Reigning OOM winner Clyde Mondilla is also out to join the elite roster of TCC Invitational winners along with Zanieboy Gialon, Jay Bayron, Rene Menor, Michael Bibat and Elmer Salvador.
The TCC Invitational will also serve as tune-up for those vying in the grand Centennial Solaire Philippine Open on February 28 to March 3, also at the TCC.