ORGANIZERS have changed the format of the planned four-course challenge for the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club Tour Proper, as the Dye course is not expected to be ready in time for the tournament starting on Tuesday in Gen. Trias, Cavite.
Still, the event presents a tough challenge, with the 100-player starting field playing the Norman and Faldo courses in the first two days, with the top 40 and ties battling in at the Aoki layout for the third and fourth rounds.
The P3 million tournament is as the third leg of this year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
The Dye course was supposed to be the venue for the third round.
“I think the players should take advantage of the friendly Norman and Faldo courses. In fact, they should post good scores at them then give it a go at Aoki,” said Eagle Ridge general manager Raymond Bunquin.
“They should also be wary of the Faldo course because it could get testy there too depending on course condition and pin placement,” said Bunquin of the 7,343-yard layout that boasts of a tough hole at No. 16, a 447-yard par-4 where the green is placed beside a ravine.
Splendido Classic winner Jay Bayron and John Hay champion Jun Rates head the stellar cast in the event sponsored by International Container Terminals Services, Inc. and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Also vying for honors and the top prize of P550,000 are reigning back-to-back Order of Merit winner Tony Lascuna, three-time Asian Tour winner Angelo Que, two-time Philippine Open champion Frankie Minoza, Elmer Salvador and young stars Miguel Tabuena and Clyde Mondilla.
Meanwhile, the leading pros team up with their amateur partners from the event’s chief backers including Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Cleveland, Pacsports, Srixon, Callaway, Sharp and FootJoy and media partners Balls TV and ABS-CBN in Monday’s pro-am tournament.
The Eagle Ridge format is just one of the many innovations the PGTI is doing in the effort to make the circuit more interesting and provide new challenges to the men of the tour. It also started the North and South duel two years ago, launched the first-ever ladies pro circuit last year and staged a Qualifying School for foreign players this year.
Rufino Bayron is also seeing action along with Carl Santos-Ocampo, Orlan Sumcad, Rey Pagunsan, Jessie Balasabas, Mars Pucay, Anthony Fernando, Paul Echavez, Mhark Fernando and Jhonnel Ababa.
Manila-based Canadian Rick Gibson, the best placed foreign player at John Hay at joint ninth, is tipped to lead the foreign contingent along with Swede Malcolm Kokocinski, Japanese Tomo Yoshinaga and Korean Park Gyu Ha.
Sherwood Hills, also in Cavite, will host the fourth leg from April 23 to 26 before action shifts to Valley Golf in Antipolo for the fifth leg set May 7 to 10.