JUVIC Pagunsan, top money earner on the Asian Tour last year, has signed up for the ICTSI Wack Wack Championship to headline a stellar cast in the P2.5 million event firing off on Thursday at Wack Wack’s East Course.
Pagunsan is seeking to end a winless season here and abroad although the 34-year-old ace shotmaker came through with a pair of runner-up finishes this year, one in the Japan Open on the Japan PGA Tour and the other in the Queen’s Cup of the Asian Tour, as well as three fourth-place finishes.
The shotmaker from Bacolod will be up against the best and upcoming stars of local pro golf, including ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit frontrunner Tony Lascuna.
The next four players in the order – Elmer Salvador, Zanie Boy Gialon, Miguel Tabuena and Jay Bayron – are also vying in the 72-hole championship closing out the 15-stage circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. Bayron also topped the Asian Development Tour money list to earn playing rights on the Asian Tour next year.
Pagunsan won four PGT legs last year to run away with the Order of Merit. But in five times that he saw action on the local circuit this year, Pagunsan’s best finish was joint seventh at Eastridge last June before seeing action in the lucrative Japan PGA circuit.
Frankie Miñoza is also out to defend the crown he won in stirring come-from-behind fashion last year where the former two-time Philippine Open champion charged back from seven strokes down to beat Elmer Saban and Rufino Bayron.
Others tipped to crowd the favorites for the top P450,000 prize in the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services Inc., are Asian Tour regulars Angelo Que, Mars Pucay, and Artemio Murakami along with young turks Charles Hong and Carl Santos-Ocampo.
Meanwhile, Pagunsan and the other leading pros test the tough layout in the pro-am tournament on Wednesday as they team up with officials and guests of the event’s chief backers Empire Golf, Titleist, Footjoy, Callaway, TaylorMade, Mizuno, Srixon, Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp.