ARTEMIO Murakami hopes to snap out of a year-long slump as he heads the compact field in the ICTSI Canlubang Golf Invitational which gets going on November 14 at Cangolf’s north course in Canlubang, Laguna.
Murakami essayed a whopping eight-stroke romp in ruling the P1 million event last year, but the former national champion’s game took a downswing this season as he turned in so-so finishes on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour and on the Asian Tour.
He will be coming into the 54-hole event trying to atone for a joint 34th finish in the ICTSI Calatagan Challenge, topped by Mhark Fernando two weeks ago.
Murakami fired a course-record eight-under 64 in the first round and went on a cruise in the next two rounds to pocket the Cangolf leg crown, only to lose his form this season where he stood way down in 50th place in the Order of Merit ranking with two legs left in the 15-stage circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Fernando, meanwhile, is upbeat about his chances for back-to-back title romps after beating Rufino Bayron by five at Calatagan.
Like the Batangas layout, the former national titlist also calls Canlubang his home where he, along with Jhonnel Ababa and Jerson Balasabas, honed his skills during their amateur days.
Also tipped to contend for the top P200,000 purse are Jun Bernis, Cassius Casas, Ferdie Aunzo, Marvin Dumandan, Anthony Fernando, Zanie Boy Gialoin, Clyde Mondilla, Richard Sinfuego, and Carito Villaroman.
The ICTSI PGT, meanwhile, winds up on November 27-30 with the P2.5 million ICTSI Wack Wack Championship, which offers a top purse of P450,000.