FORMER Walker Cup star James Byrne tries to make it two-in-row on the Asian Development Tour as he heads the foreign challenge in the US$100,000 Aboitiz Invitational teeing off on Wednesday at Riviera’s Couples course in Silang, Cavite.
The 25-year-old player from Scotland topped the Ciputra Golfpreneur Tournament, finishing in style by sinking a 40-foot eagle putt on the final hole at the Damai Indah Golf’s BSD course and beat American veteran Brett Munson and Indonesian rookie William Sjaichudin by three.
Looking to defend home ground in the 11th tournament of the PGT and 14th leg of the ADT are top local golfers led by Philippine Golf Tour money leader Tony Lascuna, three-time Asian Tour winner Angelo Que, former ADT money list topnotcher Jay Bayron, young pro Miguel Tabuena and veteran Frankie Minoza.
Elmer Salvador, who nipped Que in a final round shootout at the Cebu Country Club last to become the first player to retain an ADT crown, is also seeing action.
The other foreign bets vying for honors are Thailand’s Wisut Artjanawat and Sattaya Supupramai, Japan’s Mitsuhiko Hashizume, England’s Grant Jackson, Ireland’s Niall Turner, Canada’s Lindsay Renolds, Australia’s Darren Tan and Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinksi.
The battle for position becomes more intense with seven legs left, with the top five ADT players at the end of the year gaining playing rights on the 2015 season of the Asian Tour.
Tabuena is the best-placed Filipino in the ADT at No. 15, boosted by his joint runner-up finish in Taifong Open in Taiwan last July.
With the Cebu Country Club, venue of the ADT event the last three years, set to undergo renovation, the tournament backed by ICTSI, supported by the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc was moved to Riviera, which hosted the ADT's Riviera Classic in May.
The leading pros also see action in Tuesday’s pro-am tournament with amateur partners and guests from the event’s chief backers including International Container Terminal Services Inc., Nike Golf, Pacsports Phils. Inc., Srixon, Callaway, Mizuno, Empire Golf, Footjoy, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp and KZG and the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.