MANILA, Philippines – Juvic Pagunsan returns to the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour coming off an inspiring finish on the Japan PGA circuit last Sunday, confident of keeping the ICTSI Eastridge Classic crown he won in emphatic fashion last year.
Pagunsan confirmed his participation in the P1 million tournament firing off today at the rolling Eastridge Golf Club course in Binangonan, Rizal where he beat Marvin Dumandan by three, one of the four titles he won on the local circuit en route to winning the Order of Merit crown.
He also emerged as Asian Tour’s No. 1, netting him a full card on the lucrative Japan PGA Tour where he ended a string of so-so finishes with a strong fourth-place effort in the Citibank Cup in Ibaraki where he won a whopping P3.9 million last Sunday.
But the smooth-swinging Pagunsan will be facing a fired-up local roster this week, headed by Tony Lascuna, who finally snapped a long title drought with a convincing six-shot victory at ICTSI Eagle Ridge two weeks ago.
Pagunsan drew Raul Miñoza and Arnold Villacencio in the last flight at 11:10 a.m. while Lascuna is paired with Ferdie Aunzo and Joenard Rates in the 10 a.m. flight, all starting on No. 1. Other featured match-ups are Jay Bayron, Jhonnel Ababa and Carl Santos-Ocampo at 7:40 a.m., Dumandan, Rey Pagunsan and Charles Hong at 8 a.m., Elmer Salvador, Cassius Casas and Mhark Fernando at 7 a.m.
Angelo Que is grouped with Artemio Murakami, and Jan Tambogon at 9:20 a.m. while Splendido leg winner Miguel Tabuena joins Elmer Saban and Ruben Sasutil in the 10:20 a.m. group.
The field is one of the strongest, including the next eight players in the OOM ranking, ensuring a spirited battle for top honors worth P200,000 in the event serving as the fifth leg of the ICTSI PGT and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. that also features Anthony Fernando, Richard Sinfuego, Robert Pactolerin, Rufino Bayron and Jun Bernis.
Lascuna primed up for a second straight leg win by topping the pro-am tournament yesterday, leading the squad composed of Ver Raymundo, Sung Kim and Doce Salazar to victory with a 53.
Rey Pagunsan and partners Ojie Caja, Nap Marigomen and Steve Yoon pooled a 55, nipping rookie pro Clyde Mondilla and teammates Julius Kawachi, Anselmo Sinjian and Hector Chua in the countback for runner-up honors.
Others expected to figure in the battle for the top P200,000 purse in the event serving as the fifth leg of the ICTSI-PGT organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments are Splendido leg winner Miguel Tabuena and fellow Asian Tour campaigner Mars Pucay and Angelo Que.
Pagunsan, a Bacolod native, missed last week’s inaugural Duel – North vs South showdown but the fancied Southerners got the job done just the same, dominating the singles matches, 9-3, and winning the duel, 16-12.
Other backers of the event are Nike Golf, Callaway, Titleist, Srixon, Custom Clubmakers, Mizuno and Foot Joy with support from Event Captain, Inc., Omnisource Int’l, TPGAP and media partners Balls, A Round of Golf, Inquirer Golf, Studio 23, Pinoygolfer.com and Impact.