THE country's brightest hope in the 2014 Philippine Open is cramming to whip his game into shape, making up for lost time in practice while trying to catch some sleep.
Blame it on daddy duty.
Top Filipino pro Angelo Que goes into the 97th edition of Asia's oldest golf tournament once again carrying home hopes but unsure of his form after the birth of his second child with fellow pro Tracy just last week.
No wonder the 35-year-old Asian Tour regular showed up for the press conferece on the eve of the ICTSI Philippine Open presented by the MVP Sports Foundation and PLDT a little drowsy, playfully resting his head on the head table before he spoke.
Asked what he needed to repeat his famous home victory in the 2008 Open in the same Wack Wack East course, the three-time Asian Tour winner said: "I need more sleep, I think."
"I’m a bit out of sync because of the new baby and I don’t have enough sleep. I think all of us at home don’t have enough sleep," he continued. "But I can’t complain. We are helping each other out. Hopefully the kids won’t give us a hard time this week."
Que, however, assured that he has tried to put in the work in the week leading up to the tournament that tees off on Thursday, refining his swing in a five-hour session last week with coach Bong Lopez - something the Filipino pro admitted he "hasn't done in a very long time."
But regardless of where his game is at, Que will once again be counted upon to deliver a championship in the national open's return to the Asian Tour after a one-year hiatus, especially in the absence of the enigmatic Juvic Pagunsan.
Veteran Frankie Minoza, teenager Migs Tabuena, in-form Tony Lascuna, and Jay Bayron are also among the 52 Filipinos in the 156-player event, but no one among them has to deal with as much expectations as Que who has been the most consistent Filipino performer at this level.
For sure, the home bets won't be lacking in competition.
Coming over to compete in the US$300,000 event that stakes a top prize of US$54,000 are Singapore's Mardan Mamat, Chinese-Taipei's Lin Wen-tang, American Berry Henson and India's Anirban Lahiri, the current Order of Merit leader after five legs of the Asian Tour.
Like Que, Mamat, Lin, and Henson know what it takes to win at Wack Wack's short but brutal East course - Mamat won the 2012 Philippine Open here, Henson the Open the year before, and Lin the Solaire Open which was held in this same course last year.
"Wack Wack is a special place for me. I call it the Augusta of the Philippines," said Henson. "It just has that feel. It is a great place and I have a lot of good memories here."
More than shotmaking, Que said the East course requires a lot of patience, even if the touring pros admit it is in the best shape they've seen it in years, with shorter rough and soft greens.
"We all know how to win on this course. Everything needs to come in place for you to do well," he said. "You need to be patient here and hope for the best."