TOP players in the Asian Development Tour led by American James Bowen, No. 2 on the current money list, and last year’s Order of Merit winner Jay Bayron head the cast in the Aboitiz Invitational set July 24 to 27 at the Cebu Country Club.
England’s Grant Jackson, No. 3 on the money list, is also seeing action along with No. 4 Mitsuhiko Hashizume of Japan and No. 6 James Byrne of Scotland in the 126-player tournament offering US$65,000 (around P2.8 million).
Elmer Salvador, who beat Antonio Lascuna by six shots last year, seeks a repeat and at the same time put his name in the record books as the first player to defend his title on the ADT, a feeder circuit for the Asian Tour.
"I've come close to winning on the Asian Tour and my victory at the Aboitiz Invitational gave me renewed confidence to try harder," said Salvador.
Unlike the past three editions which was played on a par-71 setup, this year's Aboitiz golfest will have the participants tackling a par-72 course.
"Everybody needs to bring his A-game to this course," said Charles Hong, a two-time club titlist at Cebu CC.
"This will be very special for me since I grew up playing golf here and most probably, this will be the last tournament I will play in this course in its present condition so I might as well take this opportunity," said Hong of the course that's slated to undergo renovation.
Also featured in the four-day event, a joint endeavor of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and the Philippine Golf Tour, are teen sensation Miguel Tabuena, veteran Artemio Murakami and ADT campaigner Carl Santos-Ocampo.
The fourth edition of the Aboitiz Invitation was officially launched Monday by the Asian Tour's Operations Director Jittisak Tamprasert, PGTI General Manager Socorro Ventosa, VECO COO Sebastian Lacson, representing Aboitiz Group, Cebu CC GM Jeric Hechanova.
The event also serves as the eighth leg of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour and will actually kick off back-to-back ADT legs with the ICTSI Classic slated July 31 to Aug. 3 at Mt. Malarayat in Lipa, Batangas.