ROBERT Pactolerin and Cassius Casas hope to turn back the hands of time and also turn back the young guns as they vie for honors in the ICTSI Philippines Masters starting on Wednesday at its home course at Villamor Golf Club.
“It’s nice to have the Masters back here at Villamor. It’s been a long time,” said Pactolerin, who ruled the event many times over during his prime.
“But times have changed, we have matured and a lot of young, talented players has emerged through the years.”
The Masters used to be one of local version’s four majors – the others being the Philippine Open, the President’s Cup and the National PGA – and its annual staging always drew huge international participation and crowds.
But though Villamor looks vulnerable to this generation of long hitters, Pactolerin said the tight, tree-lined military layout remains challenging even to the toughest pros.
“You need to hit accurate drives or the trees will come into play. A little miscue will result to a double or triple bogey,” said Pactolerin.
Casas, who edged Pactolerin in a thrilling playoff to win the last Masters in 2000, also keeps a positive outlook heading to the 72-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“We can still win, we still have the power although we have to be consistent with our putting which I believe will decide this week’s winner,” said Casas.
Focus will also be on Clyde Mondilla, who is coming into the event brimming with confidence after winning the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship.
Tony Lascuña is also out for redemption after the runner-up finish at Southwoods.
Mondilla and Lascuña, along with Casas and the other top pros test the Villamor layout one last time in today’s pro-am tournament where they will be grouped with officials and guests of the event’s chief backers, including ICTSI, BDO, KZG, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Sharp, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and PLDT.
Heading the foreign challenge in the P2 million event offering a top prize of P360,000 are Nicolas Paez, Keoninh Leonen and Paul Harris of the US, Peter Stojanovski of Macedonia, Dutchman Guido Van der Valk, Japan’s Joichiro Kawada, Korea’s Park Jun Sung and Aussies Nathan Park, Jason Dawes and David Gleeson.