Reigning Philippine Open champion Clyde Mondilla hopes to put up a strong showing coming off a long rest, targeting no less than a top finish in the ICTSI Pueblo de Oro Championship unfolding on Wednesday in Cagayan de Oro City.
The 2017 PGT Order of Merit winner marked his 2019 start with that surprise victory in the country’s premier championship at The Country Club last April but withdrew from other events to take a much needed break. He returned from a two-month layoff and tied for 12th in Bacolod and after missing a couple more tournaments, he turned in a third-place effort at Riviera last month but skipped the Aboitiz Invitational of the PGT Asia last week.
But with the PGT resuming with four tournaments in Mindanao, the Del Monte ace finds it fitting to sort of re-launch his campaign at his turf with this week’s P2.5 million event sponsored by ICTSI also serving as part of his buildup for the ICTSI Del Monte Championship on Sept. 18-21 where he hopes to dominate on a course he calls home.
“I just took a long rest, no injuries whatsoever, so I hope play good this week,” said Mondilla.
Davao will host the next stop on Oct. 2-5 for the ICTSI Apo Golf Invitational before the PGT Mindanao swing winds up at the South Pacific Golf and Leisure Estates, also in Davao, on Oct. 9-12.
But like Mondilla, the rest of the stellar cast are ready and raring to fuel their respective drive with strong showing, ensuring a spirited battle right in the first round of the 72-hole championship serving as the seventh leg of the 10th season of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
They include a slew of top guns from talent-rich Mindanao, led by Davaoeños Jhonnel Ababa, Jay and Rufino Bayron, Mhark Fernando, Ferdie Aunzo, Tony Lascuña and Elmer Salvador, along with Johvanie Abaño, Reymon Jaraula, Paul and Peter Miñoza.
A number of foreign aces are also out to spoil the locals’ bid, including American Lexus Keoninh, Thais Kammalas Namuangruk and Pachara Sakulyong, Macedonia’s Peter Stojanovski and Dutch Guido Van der Valk, who is actually shooting for a second leg win after ruling the Club Filipino de Cebu Invitational last June.
Meanwhile, a select group of pros, led by Mondilla, test the Pueblo layout one last time in today’s (Tuesday) pro-am where they will be paired 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.
Others tipped to contend for the top P450,000 purse are former Phl Masters titlist Jerson Balasabas, Michael Bibat, Marvin Dumandan, Anthony Fernando, Keanu Jahns, Mars Pucay, Gerald Rosales and Rupert Zaragosa.