SEVERAL top players from the Asian Tour and Asian Development Tour have signed up for the Solaire Philippine Open and will battle the country’s leading players in the US$350,000 (P17 million) event unfolding on March 2 at the tough The Country Club course in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Pachara Khongwatmai, Jazz Janewattananon, Panuphol Pittayarat and Rattanon Wannasrichan of Thailand, Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh and Brazilian Adilson Da Silva, in the Top 25 of the Asian Tour Order of Merit, are set to see action at TCC.
Also confirmed to play in Asia’s oldest national Open are ADT top players Brett Munson of the US, Panuwat Muenlek of Thailand, Malaysia’s Arie Irawan and American John Catlin.
Sam Chien of the US, Nicolas Fung and Gavin Green of Malaysia, Himmat Rai of India, Scott Barr, Unho Park and Scott Hend of Australia, Michael Tran of Vietnam and Thais Thaworn Wiratchant, Thammanoon Sriroj, Chawalit Plaphol, Poom Saksansin are also in the field.
The country’s premier golf championship has lured some of the region’s top players owing to a break in the Asian Tour and ADT calendar.
The organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and sponsoring Solaire Resort and Casino expect a tough battle at the tough TCC, which yielded just one under-par score in the TCC Invitational last week, with Miguel Tabuena winning with his 13-over total.
The TCC Invitational 2017 marked the course’s return to hosting big tournaments after undergoing a major facelift for the past two years.
Tabuena will lead the local challenge along with Angelo Que, Tony Lascuña, Elmer Salvador, Jay Bayron, Frankie Miñoza, Clyde Mondilla, Jhonnel Ababa, Arnold Villacencio, Orlan Sumcad, Cassius Casas and Pagunsan.
“While the locals have the so-called local knowledge, the foreign players are also used to playing in such tough condition, thus making it not just a battle of shotmaking but also of wits and mental toughness,” said Solaire Resort and Casino president and chief operating officer Thomas Arasi.
The event also serves as a preview of the Solaire Philippine Open’s grand centennial staging in 2018.
The National Golf Association of the Philippines, the governing body of golf in the country, has given the PGTI, which also organizes the annual ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour and the Ladies PGT, the rights to hold the next two Philippine Open with Solaire as title sponsor.
Others vying for the crown are Thais Sutijet Kooratanapisan, Rathhee Sirithankunsak and Arnond Vongvanij, Taiwanese Huang Chi, Yeh Chang Ting, Chiang Chen Chi, Tseng Hong Sheng and Lien Lu Sen, Lindsay Renolds of Canada, Irishman Niall Turner, Dodge Kemmer and Sam Cyr of the US, James Byrne of Scotland, Hu Mu of China and South African Mathiam Keyser.