Davao City -The Philippine Golf Tour caps its milestone 10th season fittingly on a course making its first hosting of the country’s premier circuit – the ICTSI South Pacific Classic which gets under way tomorrow (Wednesday, Oct. 9) at the South Pacific Golf & Leisure Estates in Catalunan Pequeño.
Coming off back-to-back victories in Taiwan and at Apo the last two weeks, Tony Lascuña easily stands out as the marked man in the P3 million event but the veteran shotmaker will be practically as clueless as the rest of the stellar international field on the challenges posed by the bunker-laden course hosting a tournament of this magnitude for the first time.
Another championship course developed by the Sta. Lucia Development, Inc. chaired by Vicente Santos and designed by Mike Singgaran, the par-72 layout opened its first nine holes in June 2016 with the other nine completed last Sept. 2018.
It features long par-4s and sleek surface with Bermuda 419 turf grass on the tees, roughs and fairways and Zoysia grass on the greens, according to VMJ Evergreen Golf Maintenance and Construction Corp.
But with the pros in competitive form coming off a series of tournaments, a low scoring battle looms in all four days of the championship also serving as the fourth leg of the Mindanao swing of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“What makes this event interesting is that no one holds an advantage at South Pacific – familiarity-wise. So it’s a question of course management and of course, putting,” said Lascuña, who nevertheless remained confident of stretching his win run to three in his eighth straight tournament.
The field tested the course in yesterday’s official practice round with Lascuña and a select number of pros gaining another chance to play it in today’s (Tuesday) pro-am tournament where they will be paired with guests and officials of the event’s chief backers, including ICTSI, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology.
Beefing up the cast are last week’s runner-up Keanu Jahns, Nilo Salahog, reigning Philippine Open champion Clyde Mondilla, Pueblo de Oro titlist Reymon Jaraula, Ira Alido, Paul Echavez, Art Arbole, Ramil Bisera, Elmer Salvador, Jhonnel Ababa, Elmer Saban and Ferdie Aunzo.
Jay Bayron, who missed the cut last week, is also going for redemption along with the likes of Michael Bibat, Jerson Balasabas, Joenard Rates, Rufino Bayron, Mhark Fernando, Anthony Fernando, Marvin Dumandan, Noel Langamin, Richard Sinfuego and former PGT Asia leg winner James Ryan Lam.