Japan PGA Tour campaigner Angelo Que hopes to make his extended stay here a rewarding one as he shoots for a Philippine Golf Tour crown in the ICTSI Riviera Classic which gets going on Wednesday at Riviera’s Langer course in Silang, Cavite.
The power hitting former Philippine Open champion actually nailed one last month while on a break from the region’s most lucrative circuit when he ran away with a five-stroke romp in the ICTSI Manila Southwoods stop of PGT Asia.
But he expects a tougher challenge in the sixth leg of the 10th season of the country’s premier circuit with the dreaded par-71 layout, where dangers lurk in every corner, requiring not just length but also precision and mental toughness.
That should make the battle for top honors in the P2.5 million tournament sponsored by ICTSI doubly interesting with Que tipped to slug it out with the likes of Juvic Pagunsan, Jobim Carlos, Jay Bayron, Jhonnel Ababa, James Ryan Lam, Justin Quiban, Joenard Rates, Michael Bibat, Zanieboy Gialon, Rufino Bayron and Keanu Jahns.
Pagunsan, for one, is aiming for a record fourth win-in-row after the region’s former No. 1, who also campaigns in Japan, swept the last three legs of the four-stage Visayas swing last June. He also dominated the Riviera stop of PGT Asia last month.
Carlos, on the other hand, is out to snap a string of forgettable finishes in the circuit he dominated on his way to clinching the 2018 Order of Merit title, seeking a victory on a course where he also reigned as PGT Asia leg champion last year.
Also eyeing to regain his winning ways at the hazard-laden layout is Bayron, who nipped Clyde Mondilla in sudden death when Riviera last played host to a PGT event in 2016.
But the local top guns will also be going up against a slew of foreign aces, led by Korean-American Micah Shin, a former PGT leg champion at Luisita and the first non-Filipino winner of The Country Club Invitational, Thais Kammalas Namuangruk and Tawan Phongpun, and recent PGT Cebu leg titlist Manila-based Guido Van der Valk.
Meanwhile, a select number of pros get the chance to test the course in today’s (Tuesday) pro-am where they will team up with officials and guests of the event’s chief backers, including ICTSI, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc.