ASIAN Tour regular Angelo Que and Japan Tour campaigner Juvic Pagunsan, eyeing victory and some confidence boost for their respective campaigns abroad, have been grouped together for the first round of the P2.5 million ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship on Wednesday in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
Que, priming up for the US Open qualifier, hopes to make the most of his debut on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour after spending much of his time campaigning on the Asian Tour the last few years, where he has logged three victories, including the Philippine Open in 2008.
“I’d like to win here before heading to the US Open qualifying next week in Tokyo,” said Que, during a break in Tuesday’s pro-am tournament of the event serving as the fourth leg of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Pagunsan, meanwhile, is out to improve on his joint third place finish at Calatagan two weeks ago with the smooth-swinging former Asian Tour Order of Merit champion using the 72-hole championship as part of his buildup for his Japan PGA Tour campaign which he will resume next week. The two will be joined by amateur Ace Stehmeier in the featured 7:35 a.m. flight.
Also among the favorites in the event offering a top prize of P450,000 are the winners of the previous legs, with Miguel Tabuena (Sherwood), Jay Bayron (Camp John Hay) and Tony Lascuna (Calatagan), hoping to make an early double in the circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
“I think I have a good chance this week,” said Bayron, who rallied from five strokes down to edge Tabuena on the second playoff hole and claim the title in Baguio last month. “But I need to watch out for Juvic and Tony, who are both title contenders.”
Bayron will start at 7:55 with Charles Hong and Ferdie Aunzo, Lascuna drew a 9 a.m. tee-off with Richard Sinfuego and Mhark Fernando, while Tabuena kicks off his bid at 9:20 a.m. along with Clyde Mondilla and Japanese Tomo Yoshinaga.
Veteran Robert Pactolerin joins the 7 a.m. flight of Orlan Sumcad and Dutch Guido Van der Valk in the event backed by Nike Golf, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, Mizuno, Titleist, Srixon, Foot Joy, Callaway, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers, Cleveland Golf and Sharp with Balls, Studio 23, Pinoygolfer.com and Inquirer Golf as media partners.
Others tipped to contend for the crown are Jhonnel Ababa, Zanie Boy Gialon, Carl Santos-Ocampo, Mars Pucay, Gerald Rosales, Rufino Bayron and Cassius Casas.
The ICTSI Orchard is the second of seven P2.5 million events lined up this year with the Aboitiz Invitational, also an Asian Development Tour leg, to be held next on July 24-27 in Cebu. The ICTSI Classic at Mt. Malarayat will be played July 31-Aug. 3 followed by the Manila Southwoods Championship Sept. 4-7, the Riviera Classic from Oct. 16 to 19, and the season-ending Wack Wack Championship set Nov. 20-23.