MIGUEL Tabuena, who won the Philippine Open in 2015 and 2018 at Luisita and The Country Club, respectively, and Angelo Que, who topped the event at Wack Wack in 2008, lead the cast in the P2 million event at Riviera in Cavite as the Philippine Golf Tour finally gets underway.
The Riviera meet marks the first time that the Tour pros will gather since Dutch Guido Van der Valk humbled the local aces to clinch the TCC Invitational crown first week of March before the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. suspended its scheduled 11th season due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Games and Amusements Board and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) recently gave PGTI the green light to resume operations, paving the way for a two-tournament offering, simultaneous with the Ladies PGT. The other PGT and LPGT events put up by ICTSI will be held Dec. 8 to 11 at the Langer course, also at Riviera. For details, visit www.pgt.ph.
Tony Lascuña, Jay Bayron and Jobim Carlos, who had previously topped the Order of Merit, are seeing action, along with PGT Asia leg winners Jhonnel Ababa, Justin Quiban, Joenard Rates and James Ryan Lam, Michael Bibat, Zanieboy Gialon and Gerald Rosales, who also won the Philippine Open at Langer in 2000.
An equally loaded field braces for fierce battle in the Ladies PGT, which kicks off its 54-hole chase also on Tuesday, with last year’s top earner Princess Superal and former winners Pauline del Rosario, Chihiro Ikeda and Cyna Rodriguez heading the field that also features former leg winner Sarah Ababa, Daniella Uy, Marvi Monsalve and Gretchen Villacencio.
Focus will also be on new pros Abby Arevalo and Chanelle Avaricio with the former, who dominated the Philippine Ladies Open early in the season, raring to return to the venue where she scored a pro victory as an amateur in 2017.
Avaricio, on the other hand, took the low amateur honors in an LPGT event last year to earn a pro card. After a stellar collegiate career that saw her win four consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) low medal honors, the former Alabama State ace hopes to hold her ground against the veteran campaigners.
Others vying in the men’s side are Ira Alido, Dan Cruz, Fidel Concepcion, Sean Talmadge and Rupert Zaragosa and regular campaigners Tonlits Asistio, Ferdie Aunzo, Jun Bernis, Marvin Dumandan, Belem Arancon, Art Arbole, Albin Engino, Rico Depilo, Paul Echavez, Mhark Fernando, Raymund Gonzales Jr., Cookie La’O, Rolando Marabe Jr., Rey Pagunsan, Richard Sinfuego, Orlan Sumcad, Arnold Villacencio and Dino Villanueva.
A number of Mindanao-based aces, however, failed to make it to the tournament, opting to call off the rest of the season, including Del Monte’s Clyde Mondilla and Reymon Jaraula and Davao’s Elmer Salvador.
At least four foreign players residing in the country, however, bolsters the cast, including regular campaigners Lexus Keoninh of the US and Korea’s Park Jun Sung.