MANILA, Philippines - Juvic Pagunsan and Frankie Miñoza have confirmed their participation in the rich ICTSI Manila Southwoods, making it an all-star cast when the P2.5 million event is held June 27-30 at Southwoods’ Masters Course.
The two aces will join Asian Tour regulars Angelo Que and Mars Pucay and the Top 10 players in the current ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit ranking, marking the first time this year that the tour’s big guns will be slugging it out in a local event spread over four days.
Pagunsan, on a break from the lucrative Japan PGA Tour, will be seeing action only in his second local tournament with the reigning local OOM champion and Asian Tour No. 1 failing to defend his crown at Eastridge Classic early this month with a joint seventh place finish.
But the smooth-swinging shotmaker is expected to figure well in the upcoming event, which serves as the sixth leg of the PGT, together with Miñoza, who closed out last year’s circuit with a stirring come-from-behind victory at Wack Wack.
Que, a former three-time Asian Tour winner, is also expected to contend for the crown even as he seeks to snap a long spell here together with the veteran Pucay with the rest of the fancied bets likewise priming up for a battle royale for the top P450,000 purse.
The event is the second of five four-day tournaments lined up by the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. this year, including the Aboitiz Invitational in Cebu and the Orchard Championship, both in August, which also serve as legs on the Asian Development Tour, underscoring the local tour’s steady growth.
Current local OOM leader Tony Lascuna, who broke a long winless spell with a runaway victory at Eagle Ridge, is out to fuel another drive for a crown, along with back-to-back Sherwood Hills champion Elmer Salvador and teener Miguel Tabuena, the hottest player on the circuit with two victories this year at Splendido and Eastridge.
Others fancied to vie for the crown are No. 5 Jay Bayron, John Hay Invitational winner and No. 5 Marvin Dumandan, Jun Bernis, Ferdie Aunzo, Charles Hong, Carl Santos-Ocampo and rookie Clyde Mondilla.
Joining the hunt are Cassius Casas, Elmer Saban, Joenard Rates, Mhark Fernando, Jhonnel Ababa, Zanieboy Gialon, Rufino Bayron, Randy Garalde, Rey Pagunsan and Orlan Sumcad.
The leading pros test the hazard-laden layout in the pro-am tournament tomorrow as they team up with amateur partners from the event’s chief backers, including the International Container Terminal Services, Inc., Sharp, Nike Golf, Callaway, Titleist, Srixon, Custom Clubmakers, Mizuno and Foot Joy with support from Event Captain, Inc., Omnisource Inti’l. TPGAP and media partners Balls, A Round of Golf, Inquirer Golf, Studio 23, Pinoygolfer.com and Impact.
Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. (PGTI) was established in 2009 to advance the cause of professional golf in the Philippines. PGTI supports the Filipino golfer through exposures in local, regional and international golf tournaments. Through its flagship tournament circuit, the Philippine Golf Tour (PGT), PGTI organizes tournaments held in the country’s top golf courses wherein golfers could hone their skills, compete with fellow professionals, and earn from the sport. In just over a year, the PGT has become the largest local golf circuit in Southeast Asia.