FRANKIE Minoza has confirmed his participation in the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour slated on December 19-22, guaranteeing a star-studded field in the P2.5 million event he ruled in stirring come-from-behind fashion at Wack Wack’s East Course last year.
This time, however, the veteran campaigner will have his hands full in pursuit of the P450,000 top purse with the tour’s big guns likewise joining the title hunt in the 72-hole championship closing out this year’s 15-leg circuit.
Minoza rallied from seven strokes down in the final round to beat Rufino Bayron and Elmer Saban and snatch the crown last year with the two-time Philippine Open champion coming into the event oozing with confidence following his recent victory in the Japan Seniors Open.
But he will be up against the cream of the crop, including the top four in the ICTSI-PGT Order of Merit rankings – Tony Lascuna, Elmer Salvador, Zanie Boy Gialon and Miguel Tabuena.
The four are all two-leg winners in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., ensuring a battle royale in the quest for the coveted OOM crown.
Jay Bayron, who gained the Asian Tour card after topping the Asian Development Tour OOM this year, is also in the fold along with former Philippine Open champion Angelo Que and young turks and this year’s leg winners Charles Hong and Carl Santos-Ocampo, Mhark Fernando and Jhonnel Ababa, and Asian Tour campaigners Mars Pucay and Artemio Murakami.
The traditional pro-am tournament on December 18 will usher in the four-day championship with the leading pros teaming up with officials and guests of the event’s chief backers, including International Container Terminal Services, Inc., Empire Golf, Titleist, Footjoy, Callaway, TaylorMade, Mizuno, Srixon, Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp.
Although Minoza struggled to finish joint 16th in the last ICTSI PGT leg at Canlubang topped by Gialon, he remains a top contender in the upcoming event owing to his familiarity with the East layout where he reigned as Philippine Open champion in 2007.