CASSIUS Casas returns to The Country Club in Canlubang confident as he takes on some of the best on the Asian Tour in the Solaire Open this week.
Although he missed the halfway cut in the Asian Tour’s Sail SBI Open in India last week, Casas is upbeat as he returns to the course where he beat an elite local field last month in the TCC Invitational.
The tournament tees of Thursday.
“My game is at a level where I want it to be and I’m happy with how I’ve been playing lately,” said Casas, who further boosted his confidence heading to this week’s $300,000 Solaire Open by regaining his Asian Tour card recently.
The Davaoeno shotmaker, who used to dominate the local circuit in the late 90s and early 2000s before his game took a downswing with poor form and personal woes, regained his bearing late last year when he won and finished runner-up in the last two legs of last year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
He then marked his 2014 campaign with an inspiring victory at TCC last month then earned his Asian Tour card by going through Qualifying School.
“It feels great to earn my Asian Tour card because I haven’t played regularly on the circuit the last five years. I’m 47 years old but it doesn’t matter. I feel my game is good enough to play on the Asian Tour despite the presence of a lot of young players,” said Casas.
But he will face a different kind of challenge this week against an international field, including defending champion Lin Wen Tang of Chinese-Taipei, Thai Arnond Vongvanij, Singaporean veteran Mardan Mamat, highly rated Baek Seuk-hyun of South Korea and Thai veteran Prayad Marksaeng.
Also seeing action are Anirban Lahiri of India, Nicholas Fung of Malaysia, Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, Taiwan’s Lu Wei-Chih, Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura, Thai Chawalit Plaphol, Korean Lee In-woo, American David Lipsky and Aussie Kiera Pratt.
Although three-time Asian Tour winner Angelo Que, also a three-time winner at TCC Invitational, and the PGT’s money list champion Tony Lascuña remain the hot favorites among the local bets, Casas feels he now has what it takes to win an Asian Tour event.
“I feel good. My ball-striking and short game are quite okay and I feel confident of my chances,” said Casas.
The other local bets vying in the Asian Tour’s second leg sponsored by Solaire Resort and Casino are Elmer Salvador, Miguel Tabuena, Jay Bayron, Mhark Fernando, Michael Bibat, Frankie Minoza, Mars Pucay, Jhonnel Ababa, Jessie Balasabas, Charles Hong, Gerald Rosaels, Marvin Dumandan, Jun Bernis and Anthony Fernando.