THE P1 million ICTSI Tagaytay Midlands Challenge gets going Wednesday with six of the country’s leading pros raring to nail a second victory and a slew of others seeking their first win at Tagaytay Midlands here.
No player has won twice after nine legs of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
Heading the elite 72-player field is Miguel Tabuena, who ruled the circuit’s kickoff leg at Sherwood and finished second at John Hay, drawing an 8:30 a.m. tee-off on No. 1 with Edward Reyes and veteran Cassius Casas.
Tony Lascuña, the runaway winner at Calatagan who moved to No. 2 on the Order of Merit with a runner-up finish in the ICTSI Classic two weeks ago, is grouped with Charles Hong and former Philippine Open champion Gerald Rosales for a 7:30 a.m. tee time on No. 10.
Angelo Que, who marked his return to the local circuit with an emphatic victory at Orchard and turned in a runner-up and third place finish in the last two legs to take the No. 3 spot in the money list, will also launch his title drive at the back nine of the up-and-down layout in the company of Rufino Bayron and Rey Pagunsan.
Elmer Salvador, who dominated the Aboitiz Invitational in Cebu for the second straight year, will start at 7:30 a.m. on No. 1 with fellow Asian Tour campaigner Mars Pucay and Ferdie Aunzo.
Jay Bayron, who came from behind to foil Tabuena’s back-to-back title bid at John Hay, is grouped with Clyde Mondilla and Michael Bibat, whose game took a downswing after scoring a breakthrough victory at Rancho Palos Verdes in June.
Rufino Bayron, Aunzo, Casas, Pucay, Reyes, Hong, Pagunsan, Mondilla and Rosales are also tipped to contend for the crown, each seeking an end to a long title drought in the circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc., organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by Nike Golf, Srixon, Custom Clubmakers, Pacsports, Cleveland Golf, Callaway, Ping, Mizuno, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, FootJoy, Titleist, Sharp and BMW.
Also out to foil the fancied bets’ bid are Jessie Balasabas, James Ryan Lam, Jhonnel Ababa, Mhark Fernando, Jun Bernis, Benjie Magada, Randy Garalde, Zanie Boy Gialon, Marvin Dumandan, Artemio Murakami, Dante Becierra and Anthony Fernando.