THREE-time Asian Tour winner Angelo Que sets out for the Solaire Open with new equipment and the same winning mindset.
“So far I’m getting there with my new equipment. It’s still early in the year. Every time you change equipment, you need time to adapt. I think I need a lot of luck to get my fourth win. I think anybody that wins need it. You also need every aspect of your game to click,” said Que during Tuesday’s press conference for the inaugural $300,000 event.
The Solaire Open tees off on Thursday and serves as the seventh leg of this year’s Asian Tour where Que had racked up three victories, the last in 2010 in the Selangor Masters.
The power-hitting Filipino ace leads a strong line-up of local talent that includes veteran Frankie Minoza, Elmer Salvador, Jay Bayron, Tony Lascuna and teen star Miguel Tabuena at Wack Wack’s fabled East layout.
After more than six years playing Callaway clubs, Que switched to Bridgestone at the start of the 2013 Asian Tour season.
Que registered a strong fourth place finish at the season-opening Zaykabar Myanmar Open in February, but the target is still a victory. He missed his first cut in four Asian Tour events two weeks ago and said he will need a bit of “luck” to duplicate his victory at the 2008 Philippine Open also held at Wack Wack East.
Despite getting new clubs, Que still does the same unique pre-game routine of not hitting balls at the practice range as he believes in more “quality” and not “quantity” practice.
“I think one reason why I don’t exert so much effort in the driving range is because I’m not young anymore. I’ve always believed in quality and not quantity practice. I only spend time at the range when I’m working on something. If I don’t have anything to work on then I just chip and putt (20 or 30 minutes) before I play.
“Ever since I was a kid I’ve been doing that. In the Philippines back then, a lot of courses didn’t have driving ranges. It has been a routine since I was a kid so I didn’t want to change anything,” said Que.
Tabuena is relishing a return to Wack Wack where he was in contention heading into the final round of last year’s Philippine Open before shooting an 81 to finish tied 11th. The 18-year-old, who said he has learned from that experience, recently notched his third victory on the local circuit three weeks ago.
“It is nice being a host in your home country rather than just playing in an event. It’s a new event on the Asian Tour. I think it’s really good for the players as well as for the Asian Tour. I hope this tournament will go on for a long time,” said Tabuena.
The tournament is sponsored by the Solaire Resort and Casino and supported by the Department of Tourism, Hyundai, Pru Life UK, Nescafé Dolce Gusto and Omega. Other backers are Holiday Inn Manila Galleria, Johnnie Walker, Asahi Super Dry, Srixon, Panasonic, Canon, and PepsiCo.
“I know my priorities for this week, which is to concentrate and get in position on Sunday. There are more expectations when you play at home. Your family come out and watch as well. It is nice to have your family around. Hopefully I can play well in front of them,” he added.
Unho Park of Australia said he is delighted with the staging of the Solaire Open, one of two new Asian Tour events this year. The tournament is being held in conjunction with the launch of the country’s latest resort casino at Entertainment City in Pasay. The region’s premier Tour is also celebrating its 10th season in 2013.
“It’s great to have a new event on Tour. It’s not a new venue. We’ve played here for a couple of times over the years. I’ve been struggling with my golf game lately but I’ve had a bit of off time and rested for a bit. I just hope to make it up there somewhere during the week,” said Park, who has been an Asian Tour member since 2001.
Lascuna, who finished a career high 12th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit last season, struggled with a back injury earlier this year but is 80 percent recovered after returning to his hometown in Davao for a therapeutic massage.
“I needed to rest my body last week. I feel good now. Last year was a really good year for me and it all comes down to practice. I still hit at least 500 golf balls a day and play five times of golf a week. I think if I can get off to two good rounds, I can win this event,” said the 42-year-old, who is aiming for a first Asian Tour win.