MANILA -- Ira Alido leads a group of local aces looking for a quick start when the ICTSI Valley Golf Challenge starts on Tuesday at the Valley Golf Club in Antipolo.
Alido was the winner of the Bacolod leg of the Philippine Golf Tour, and is also coming off a stint in the Asian Development Tour in Thailand.
"There's no other way to play the (Valley) course but to set myself up to get as much birdies as I can since it's a really scorable course that can present a lot of birdies when put in a good position," he noted.
Alido his second pro victory at Marapara in come-from-behind fashion last March. Though he struggled for joint 18th in Iloilo, the former national champion placed fifth at Caliraya Springs and posted a runner-up finish at Luisita.
"Playing in Thailand helped me further my game in terms of playing a harder field and deeper scores," he added. "I'm playing at a high level right now mentally and physically and I know that I will have a chance to win week-in and week-out."
Tony Lascuña, the runaway winner at Caliraya Springs, likens the up-and-down course to the relatively flat Villamor layout in terms of challenges and tests it presents.
"Valley is like Villamor – 'maraming trouble,' so everything must click – long game, iron play and putting," said the multi-titled Davaoeño campaigner who was the winner when Valley Golf last hosted a PGT leg in 2014.
Like Alido, Lascuna said he's in top shape following a stint in Taiwan and expects to put himself in contention in the P2 million championship serving as the sixth leg of this year's circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
A crowd of aces and unheralded but solid players, however, are ready to pounce on every opportunity, including Guido van der Valk, who bounced back from a rare missed cut stint at Luisita with a joint runner-up finish at Villamor topped by Jhonnel Ababa two weeks ago.
Ababa is also upbeat of his chances for a back-to-back feat after scoring a come-from-behind win at Villamor that snapped a long title spell while Clyde Mondilla, Justin Quiban, Zanieboy Gialon, Lloyd Go and Angelo Que all look forward to resuming their respective campaigns in explosive fashion.