THE Asian Development Tour’s ICTSI Riviera Classic tees off Wednesday with some of the region’s best battling it out for top honors and the lion’s share of the $60,000 pot in Silang, Cavite.
Tony Lascuna is grouped with Brett Munson of the US and Pavin Tangkamolprasert of Thailand in an early morning start at the Langer course.
Munson and Tangkamolprasert are third and fifth, respectively, on the current ADT Order of Merit, while Lascuna is the top money earner the last two seasons and current leader on the Philippine Golf Tour.
“I’ve been playing well the last three tournaments and I’m sure that will help in my campaign here at Riviera,” said Lascuna, referring to his victory in the ICTSI Valley Challenge and joint runner-up finish in the Philippine Open at Wack Wack two weeks ago.
“I just ran out of holes at Wack Wack but I feel confident about my (title) chances here,” added Lascuna, who also had an impressive stint on the Asian Tour last month, including a joint 11th place effort at The Championship in Singapore.
Save for some par-5s, the long hitters do not necessarily hold an advantage at the tight, ravine-laced Langer layout, and premium is on strategy rather than power.
Munson, 28, won the ADT second leg in Malaysia last March and is expected to figure prominently in the four-day championship together with Tangkamolprasert, who has posted a runner-up and third place finishes, both in Malaysia.
Aspiring pros from over 17 countries are also seeing action including ADT winners Masaru Takahashi of Japan, Grant Jackson of England, James Byrne of Scotland and Thai ace Sattaya Supupramai, who beat Lascuna at Mt. Malarayat last year.
“Riviera is not easy to play. It’s a thinking course, I guess. You put the ball in the right place to get to scoring position,” said Sattaya, seventh on the ADT Order of Merit.
Charles Hong, No. 2 on the PGT ranking and winner at Sherwood last month, is upbeat of his chances in the event also serving as the sixth leg of the local circuit.
“I feel confident here, the greens are rolling true,” said Hong, who will start with Thailand’s Poosit Supupramai and Japan’s Mitsuhiko Hashizume.
“My gameplan will be to not overpower the course. Keeping it in the fairway is important because the pins will be in tough spots.”
Frankie Minoza, Elmer Salvador, Jay Bayron, Miguel Tabuena, Jhonnel Ababa, Mars Pucay, Cassius Casas and Gerald Rosales are also seeing action in the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc., and backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports Phils. Inc., Srixon, Callaway, Mizuno, Empire Golf, Footjoy, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp and KZG with ABS-CBN Sports & Action, Balls and Inquirer Golf as media partners.