Philippine Masters gets under way at Villamor Golf Club
Clyde Mondilla, winner at Southwoods last week, heads the cast at Villamor.

CLYDE Mondilla just got another boost in confidence ahead of the Philippine Masters, saying he felt right at home as he played Villamor Golf Club.

“Villamor is like Del Monte, the fairways, the grass and the surface. So I feel like I’m playing right at home,” said Mondilla on Tuesday during the pro-am of the P2 million event.

Mondilla, a former national amateur champion, is looking to score a follow-up to his victory at Southwoods, where he posted a 22-under 266 winning total.

The Villamor layout measures up to 7,000 yards and though it is expected to yield low scores given the current form of the competing field, it could still pose a challenge with its tight fairways, thick rough and unpredictable putting surface.

“You just can’t take Villamor for granted. It could yield low scores but it could also punish those who commit even the slightest mistake,” said Robert Pactolerin, an old hand at the military layout with a number of titles tucked under his belt, including this tournament.

Cassius Casas topped the last Philippine Masters in 2000, nipping Pactolerin in sudden death.

“The course is also tough. One errant drive will put you in tough spot under the trees where it would be impossible to go for a birdie,” said Tony Lascuña, winner of five tournaments last year who also won the Manila Masters at Eastridge last month.

Mondilla joins Pactolerin and former Philippine Open champion Gerald Rosales in an early morning start on No. 10, which used to be the first hole as organizers switched the nines for the tournament.

Lascuña drew Rufino Bayron and Benjie Magada for a mid-morning start on No. 1.

Others tipped to contend for the P360,000 top prize are Jay Bayron, Elmer Salvador, Jhonnel Ababa, Ferdie Aunzo, Zanieboy Gialon, Joenard Rates, Jun Bernis, Mhark Fernando, Marvin Dumandan, Charles Hong and Rey Pagunsan.

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The event also drew foreign players including Nicolas Paez, Keoninh Leonen and Paul Harris of the US, Peter Stojanovski of Macedonia, Dutchman Guido Van der Valk, Japan’s Joichiro Kawada, Korea’s Park Jun Sung and Australians Nathan Park, Jason Dawes and David Gleeson. 

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