MANILA, Aug. 13 — Current Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit (OOM) leader Tony Lascuña, No. 2 Clyde Mondilla, 2015 OOM winner Miguel Tabuena and Japan PGA Tour campaigner Angelo Que banner the Philippine campaign in the PGT Asia Tour, the region’s newest pro golf circuit, which tees off on Tuesday (August 15) with the USD 100,000 Aboitiz Invitational 2017.
Manila Southwoods’ Legends course located in Carmona Cavite will be the site of the four-day fairway battle which requires mental toughness and course management.
Local players will match their golfing skills against a field of seasoned foreign players that include Thai Pasavee Lertvilai, who ran away with the low medal honors in the PGTA Q-School and second placer Seungjae Maeng and John Michael O’Toole of the US, Korean-American Micah Shin and Indonesians Joshua Wirawan and Elki Kow.
Top local players and an elite international field made the grade in the just-concluded PGTA Q-School at Luisita make up the 120-player field.
Among those marked local players is Jay Bayron, who edged Malaysian Gavin Green to win last year’s staging of the Aboitiz Invitational at Wack Wack, his second after ruling the inaugural staging of what has become a major event, sponsored by Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc., on the PGT calendar in Cebu in 2011.
Six other USD 100,000 championships have been lined up for the kickoff season of the PGT Asia Tour, put up by PGT chief sponsor International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) to further develop the local pros’ games and at the same time make the Philippines a leading international golfing destination.
Eight legs are actually on tap for the PGTA inaugural season, backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc., with the last offering a total pot of USD 300,000, according to the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. In 2018, a total of USD 1.7 million will be staked while the 2019 PGTA will offer a USD 2 million prize fund with plans to further increase the purse in the future.
Luisita will host the second stop on September 6-9 for the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Open while the third leg will be held September 13-16 for the ICTSI Riviera Championship at the Riviera in Silang, Cavite.
Action swings to the fabled Wack Wack in Mandaluyong City for the ICTSI Wack Wack Challenge on November 15-18, then Splendido Taal in Laurel, Batangas on Nov. 29-Dec. 2. Still to be determined are the venues for the seventh leg set December 6-9 and the eighth leg scheduled early next year.
More events for each of the next two years are also being finalized and talks to hold future legs in other parts of Asia, particularly Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia, are also ongoing. PNA-northboundasia.com