CASSIUS Casas drew 2011 champion Robert Pactolerin and 2012 winner Zanie Boy Gialon, while Tony Lascuna, Elmer Salvador and Orlan Sumcad have been grouped for the first round of the P1 million ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic on Wednesday at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club in Bacolod.
Coming off a one-shot victory over Salvador in Iloilo last week, Casas is upbeat of his chances for a second straight win.
“The key is to have a strong start and try to keep the pressure on them,” said Casas.
Lascuna and Salvador will try to outgun each other, not just for the title in this tournament but for the top spot in the money list
Winner at Eagle Ridge and Valley Golf, Lascuna is on top of the Order of Merit at P1,529,065, while Salvador, winner at Riviera, at P1,462,750.
But Sumcad is out to spoil the Lascuna-Salvador duel with the long hitting Mt. Malarayat pro hoping to sustain the momentum of his impressive third place finish in Iloilo.
Casas’ recent victory moved him to No. 7 in the money list at P690,874.
“My ball striking is okay and I feel good about my chances. I hope to win two or three more before the season ends,” said Casas.
Salvador struggled with his putting last week and the Davaoeno shotmaker is spending most of the preparation time trying to get the feel of the greens, although there is a lot more to consider to score low at the tree-lined, hazard-laden layout.
“I can’t win again with this kind of putting,” said Salvador, who flubbed at least four putts inside four feet in Ilolilo.
Meanwhile, Anthony Fernando and partners Bobby Cuenca, Peter Kim and Ilha Choi pooled an 18-under 52 to beat Rolando Marabe and teammates Michael Bantug, Josephine Go and Lyn Lee Rizzo by two in Tuesday’s pro-am tournament organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Gialon, along with Dupert Locsin, Mark Cuaycong and Marlowe Cortez shot a 55 to finish third in the 18-hole tournament backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Srixon, FootJoy, It’s More Fun in the Philippines, Callaway, Mizuno, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Sharp and KZG.
Other players tipped to contend for the top P200,000 prize in the 10th leg of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. are Mhark Fernando, Jhonnel Ababa, Marvin Dumandan, Ferdie Aunzo, Michael Bibat, Rey Pagunsan, Jun Bernis, Gerald Rosales, Jessie Balasabas, Carl Santos-Ocampo and ICTSI Sherwood Hills leg winner Charles Hong.