PREMIUM will be on power as the P1 million ICTSI Canlubang Golf Invitational tees off on Wednesday in Laguna.
The par-72 North Course is playing longer than its 6,872 yardage due to rains the past few days and heavy downpour forced the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. to cancel the traditional pro-am tournament on Tuesday.
Mhark Fernando, seeking a follow-up to his three-shot romp in last month’s Riviera Classic, has been grouped with Robert Pactolerin and Randy Garalde, while defending champion Zanie Boy Gialon will start in the company of Jhonnel Ababa and Cassius Casas.
Jessie Balasabas, out to improve on his runner-up finish at Riviera, is playing with power-hitter Orlan Sumcad and Dutchman Guido Van der Valk, while Mars Pucay is grouped with Tagaytay Midlands Challenge winner Carl Santos-Ocampo and Rufino Bayron.
Fernando’s familiarity with the Cangolf layout, where he honed his talent and skills during his amateur days, is an advantage although he will be facing his former Cangolf teammates Ababa and Balasabas and a host of others who also consider Cangolf their home.
Others tipped to crowd the fancied bets are Michael Bibat, whose game went on a downswing after scoring a breakthrough victory at Palos Verdes in June, Richard Sinfuego, Benjie Magada, Rey Pagunsan, Ferdie Aunzo, Jun Bernis, Elmer Saban, Edward Reyes and Marvin Dumandan.
Artemio Murakami, who dominated this leg two years ago at the adjacent South course where he set a course record 64 in the first round, is also expected to rebound from a string of poor finishes and missed cuts this year in the penultimate leg of the 15-stage circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and backed by Nike Golf, Srixon, Custom Clubmakers, Pacsports, Cleveland Golf, Callaway, Ping, Mizuno, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, FootJoy, Titleist, Sharp, BMW and Gergia Energy Foods.