ANGELO Que signed up for the rich ICTSI Open Championship firing off Wednesday at Wack Wack’s East, upbeat of his chances for a third leg victory and ready to re-claim the top ranking in the money race of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
With two victories at ICTSI Manila Masters and Anvaya Cove Invitational and a string of top 10 finishes, Que has lorded it over the field in the Order of Merit derby after 10 legs.
But he skipped the last leg at ICTSI Summit to compete in Japan, enabling Tony Lascuña to snatch the lead heading to the last three legs of this year’s circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“I was in Japan the past two weeks and I’m playing good at the moment,” said Que, a three-time Asian Tour winner chasing his first OOM crown. “But it all depends on the breaks of the game. It’s a strong field, so it’ll be tough.”
The 93-player cast indeed looks formidable with the cream of the crop in the fold, including Lascuña, who snapped a long title spell with back-to-back victories at ICTSI Apo and ICTSI Classic at Mt. Malarayat last month and moved past Que in the OOM race with total earnings of P1,999,960 after placing second to Jay Bayron at ICTSI Summit two weeks ago.
But Miguel Tabuena, also a two-leg winner at Splendido and Rancho Palos Verdes, is right behind with P1,951,917 with Que dropping to third but just within striking distance at P1,937,131.
With Elmer Salvador, winner at Riviera, and Bayron tied at fourth with P1,222,729, the upcoming P3.5 million event, sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc., proves so crucial for the OOM contenders with P650,000 winner’s purse at stake.
Aware of Tabuena and Que’s strong charge, Lascuña said he’s been training hard during the break to polish his short game and putting, which will be key to victory at the fabled WW layout.
“I may be shorter than the two (Que and Tabuena) off the tee but I can make it up with my irons and short game. But putting will be crucial at Wack Wack,” said Lascuña, actually eyeing a fourth straight OOM plum in the country’s premier circuit backed by Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Nike Golf, PacSports, Callaway, Srixon, KZG, Sharp and Foot Joy.
Que, meanwhile, hopes to re-live his glory days at Wack Wack where he beat an elite Asian Tour cast to win his first Philippine Open in 2008. The power-hitting shotmaker also finished joint second to Juvic Pagunsan at the Aboitiz Invitational at Southwoods last month.
Rounding up the Top 10 in the OOM race are Orlan Sumcad (P956,082), Clyde Mondilla (P921,186), Ferdie Aunzo (P601,589), Frankie Miñoza (P561,803) and Cassius Casas (P556,847).
The Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac, which returned to big-time hosting on the ICTSI PGT last May and the Ladies PGT last July, will host the first Central Azucarera de Tarlac Open on Sept. 16-19 before the circuit winds up at Sherwood Hills Golf Club for the ICTSI Tournament Players’ Championship on Sept. 23-26.