THE country's touring pros both in the men’s and ladies ranks set out for another busy season as the Philippine Golf Tour lined up a full calendar of multi-million peso tournaments at the country’s top golf courses.
This year the men and ladies get to play the same course in the same week, starting with the ICTSI Summit Point Challenge at Summit Point in Lipa City, Batangas from March 23 to 28.
“This is done in other tours abroad,” said PGTI general manager Colo Ventosa, referring to the new setup wherein the ladies tournament will be held first then the men’s on the same course.
“But we will still have stand-alone ladies tournaments co-sanctioned by the TLPGA (LPGA of Taiwan),” added Ventosa, while reiterating their commitment to put up more international tournaments for the ladies.
For the first time, the ladies will play a national pro-am tournament side by side the men, from May 14 to 16 at Splendido Taal Golf Club before the circuit moves to Royal Northwoods in San Rafael, Bulacan for the ICTSI Royal Northwoods set May 24 to 29.
The full schedule for the circuit put up by ICTSI with be unveiled on Tuesday when the new season is formally launched at The Country Club coinciding with the pro-am tournament of the TCC Invitational, the centerpiece tournament of each PGT circuit.
The top 30 players in last year’s PGT Order of Merit ranking make up the cast at TCC with a total prize fund of P5 million, the richest outside of the Philippine Open.
The elite TCC Invitational cast test the Tom Weiskoph-designed layout one last time on Tuesday before launching their respective drive for the top P1.5 million top prize.
Former champions Tony Lascuña and Frankie Miñoza banner the stellar cast in the 72-hole championship put up by ICTSI president/chairman Ricky Razon to honor the memory of his father and ICTSI founder Don Pocholo.
Philippine Open champion and recent Pradera Verde winner Clyde Mondilla is also in the field, along with young guns Ira Alido and Keanu Jahns along with PGT leg winners Jhonnel Ababa, Jay Bayron, Reymon Jaraula, Michael Bibat, Zanieboy Gialon, Jerson Balasabas, Elmer Salvador, Mhark Fernando and Dutchman Guido Van der Valk and PGT Asia winners James Ryan Lam, Joenard Rates and Rene Menor.
Completing the cast are Rufino Bayron, NIlo Salahog, Richard Sinfuego, Fidel Concepcion, Rico Depilo, Albin Engino, Ferdie Aunzo, Paul Echavez, Japanese Kei Matsuoka, Gerald Rosales, Spain’s Marcos Pastor, Lexus Keoninh of the US and Art Arbole.