Miguel Tabuena sets out fresh and strong coming off a much-deserved rest, shooting for another crown against a tough field in the $60,000 ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship, which begins on Wednesday at the Legends course in Carmona, Cavite.
Tabuena rallied from seven down in the final round then nipped South African Mathiam Keyser in sudden to snatch the crown in the ICTSI Luisita Championship the other week but opted to skip last week’s Orchard tournament to rest after a grueling campaign that included stints in the Asian Tour and Japan PGA Tour.
He expects to put up a hot start and build some momentum and confidence although the elite field, led by Orchard runner-up Clyde Mondilla, Luisita leg winner Tony Lascuña and perennial contenders Jay Bayron and Elmer Salvador, is as much ready as the Olympiad veteran.
Though some of the foreign aces who boosted the Luisita and Orchard casts won’t be around this week, they remain a force to reckon with in the 72-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI with American John Catlin resuming his hunt for the elusive Philippine Golf Tour title.
The 26-year-old shotmaker from Sacramento has put himself in contention in the early going of the past PGT legs but just couldn’t unleash a strong finishing kick to vie for the crown. He, however, hopes to produce a different kind of ending this week.
The same thing with former Singapore amateur hotshot Choo Tze-Huang, Dutch Guido Van der Valk, James Bowen of the US, Swede Oskar Arvidsson, Aussies Chris Carey, David Gleeson and Jason Dawes, Korean Park Jun Sung and American Nicolas Paez.
Meanwhile, the leading local and foreign pros test the bunker-laden layout in today’s (Tuesday) traditional pro-am tournament where they will be paired with officials and guests of the event’s chief backers, including ICTSI, BDO, KZG, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Sharp, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and PLDT.
The event, organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., also serves as a prelude to next week’s revival of the ICTSI Philippine Masters, which used to be one of local version’s four majors at its home at Villamor Golf Club.
Also tipped to contend this week are Keanu Jahns, who turned in a strong third place finish at Luisita but missed the cut at Orchard, Jhonnel Ababa, Ira Alido, Ferdie Aunzo, Rufino Bayron, Michael Bibat, Jobim Carlos, Cassius Casas, Marvin Dumandan, Mhark Fernando, Mars Pucay and Frankie Miñoza.
Other foreigners in the fold are Bangladeshi Shakawat Hossain, Paul Harris amd Josh Salah of the US, Japanese Kento Nakai and Yuta Sudo, Englishman Jake Shepherd.