MANILA, Philippines - Zanie Boy Gialon hopes to snap out of a season-long slump as he re-joins the Philippine Golf Tour’s penultimate leg in Canlubang to defend the ICTSI Canlubang Golf Invitational crown beginning Wednesday at Cangolf’s North course in Laguna.
Gialon had an impressive rookie season last year, winning twice, including this stage but had a struggling campaign this year with so-so finishes, including a 20th place effort at Splendido and a missed cut stint in the Macau Open, both last month.
But he hopes to make a big turnaround in this week’s P1 million event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., where he hopes to re-discover the form that netted him a three-stroke victory over Elmer Saban last year.
“I just hope to finally put it all together this week. My ball striking is quite okay but I’ve struggled with my irons and putting,” said Gialon, who turned in an impressive third place finish in last year’s Order of Merit ranking on the strength of two leg wins, including one in Bacolod where he nipped Tony Lascuña in a playoff.
But with no top five finish this year, Gialon finds himself languishing in 36th place with just two legs left on the 15-stage circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Gialon, however, will be facing a slew of equally title hungry rivals, including Jhonnel Ababa, Cassius Casas, Ferdie Aunzo, Jessie Balasabas, Rufino Bayron, Dante Becierra, Anthony Fernando, Charles Hong, Rey Pagunsan, Gerald Rosales, Richard Sinfuego and Saban, ensuring a spirited chase for the top P200,000 purse in the 54-hole tournament.
Mars Pucay is also in the fold, likewise seeking to end a long title drought in the circuit backed by Nike Golf, Srixon, Custom Clubmakers, Pacsports, Cleveland Golf, Callaway, Ping, Mizuno, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, FootJoy, Titleist, Sharp, BMW and Gergia Energy Foods.
Artemio Murakami, who set a course-record 64 at Cangolf’s South Course in the first round en route to winning the 2011 edition of the annual event by eight shots, is also expected to bounce back from a series of missed cut stints with a strong performance this week.
The leading pros get the chance to test the long, challenging par-72 layout in tomorrow’s tradition pro-am tournament as they team up with the amateur players from the event’s sponsors and chief backers.