MANILA -- The Villamor Golf Club's tight fairways and unpredictable surface will present a challenge to top golfers when the ICTSI Villamor Philippine Masters reels off Wednesday.
The deceiving course puts premium on accuracy and precision off the mound more than length, and the competitors of the Philippine Golf Tour are bracing for a duel of ball control, iron play and putting.
"I did some good practice last week and I hope to show a better game than in Luisita," said Guido van der Valk, the back-to-back The Country Club Invitational champion who posted a rare missed cut stint in the last PGT leg in Tarlac.
"I love the Villamor layout and can’t wait to play. As for the target, the goal is to be in contention to win during the final round," added the Manila-based Dutchman who yielded to Jerson Balasabas in sudden death when the last PH Masters was held in 2018.
Rupert Zaragosa, the runaway winner in Iloilo last March but who also struggled at Luisita with a 34th place finish, can’t wait to launch his drive for a second PGT win, saying: "I think Villamor suits my game. My game plan is to focus more on my tee shots and hopefully my putting will click this week."
The absence of some of the Tour's big guns, who are competing overseas, opens up the title chase in the P2.5-M championship put up by ICTSI. But van der Valk said he doesn’t mind who is in or who isn't.
"If my game is good, I can win no matter who is in the field. As for if it boosts my title chances, there's still a lot of good players left in the field so I will have to play my best," he said.
Frankie Miñoza and Robert Pactolerin, who had figured in a number of PH Masters clashes during their prime, provide the vintage flavor to the blue-ribbon event although the former has proved he still got what it takes with strong performances in the first five legs of this year’s circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., including the TCC Invitational where he tied for eighth.