MIGUEL Tabuena leads a stellar international cast in the Solaire Philippine Open at The Country Club in Laguna in April.
Tabuena beat veteran Prom Meesawat of Thailand in a playoff in the Centennial staging of the event at the TCC last year
The tournament starts April 3.
The 2017 Philippine Open also went over the distance with Englishman Steve Lewton edging American Johannes Veerman in a playoff, also at the well-kept Tom Weiskoph-designed layout, with the same windup likely to ensue in the upcoming event sponsored by Solaire Resort and Casino.
“More than 50 percent of the field which vied last year will all be coming over again with the 2019 cast to be toughened up by new, crack international players,” said Colo Ventosa, general manager of Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., which co-organizes the event with the National Golf Association of the Philippines.
Solaire Resort and Casino, headed by president/CEO Thomas Arasi, and the NGAP, now led by president Martin Lorenzo, have recently inked a pact to jointly stage the 2019 Open with the former bankrolling $500,000 to put up the four-day championship, which also serves as part of the Philippine Golf Tour Asia.
Lorenzo and NGAP secretary-general Bones Floro have reiterated their full support to ensure the smooth and successful staging of the event, which will feature former champions and mainstays of the other regional tours seeking to join the elite circle of winners in Asia’s oldest National Open.
Tabuena will actually shoot for a third Philippine Open title, nailing his first in the rain-shortened championship at Luisita in 2015. He wound up joint fifth in 2017 but pulled off a memorable victory in the event’s Centennial edition.
The field includes former champion Angelo Que and Jobim Carlos, who topped the Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit.
Jhonnel Ababa, Clyde Mondilla, Tony Lascuña and Jay Bayron are also seeing action, along with Korean-American Micah Shin, PGT and PGT Asia campaigners Kim Joo Hyung of Korea, Dutchman Guido Van der Valk, Nicolas Paez of the US and Aussie Tim Stewart.