MANILA, Philippines - Elmer Salvador hopes to settle down with his long game as he tries to make it two-in-row on the Asian Development Tour beginning tomorrow in the $60,000 ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship at The Orchard in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
Salvador bucked poor driving with exceptional putting to outlast Tony Lascuna and capture the Aboitiz Invitational presented by ICTSI crown via a six-stroke romp at Cebu Country Club in Cebu last week.
But he expects a tougher outing at Orchard, which offers a different kind of challenge, and against a field out to stop the reticent Davaoeño’s bid for another crown in the event, which serves as the eighth leg of the ADT the country is hosting for the second straight week.
“My driving was horrible. I hooked a lot of shots but my putting guided me to victory,” said Salvador after closing out with an even par 71 and turning what had been billed to a two-man duel into a one-man show in Cebu.
“He putted really well while I struggled on the greens,” said Lascuna, just one down behind Salvador in the final round but reeled back with a birdie-less 76 and lost by six.
But the current Order of Merit leader on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour vowed to redeem himself this week, along with the likes of Mars Pucay, Elmer Saban, Jay Bayron, Richard Sinfuego, Clyde Mondilla, Angelo Que, Miguel Tabuena and Frankie Miñoza.
Korean Kim Gi-whan, who emerged the top finisher from among a slew of foreign bets at fifth in Cebu, heads the roster of a crack international field in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., that includes England’s Peter Richardson and Dutch Guido Van der Valk and Australians Ryan Bulloch, Scott Barr and Luke Bleumink.
Also fancied to contend for the crown in the four-day championship, put up by International Container Terminal Services Inc., are Singapore’s Quincy Quek and Lam Zhi Qun, Aussies Unho Park and Glenn Joyner, and Koreans Young Nam and Park Il-hwan.
The elite field, meanwhile, gets the chance to test the par-72 Palmer course in today’s pro-am tournament with the leading pros teaming up with the amateurs from the event’s chief backers, including ICTSI, Empire Golf, Titleist, Footjoy, Callaway, TaylorMade, Mizuno, Srixon, Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp with Balls, Studio 23, Pinoygolfer.com and Inquirer Golf.