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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

4 aces target 2nd win at ICTSI Luisita

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Guido van der Valk

The ICTSI Luisita Championship will see an assembly of stars who have dominated the Philippine Golf Tour the past two years go head-to-head beginning Tuesday, including four top guns chasing a second victory in the current PGT season.

Tony Lascuna sets out for the P2 million event seeking to become the first player to win two PGT legs after beating Asian Tour campaigners Angelo Que and Lloyd Go by three in the second ICTSI Caliraya Springs Championship in Cavinti, Laguna last month. But the amiable, multi-titled Davaoeño will have to buck a slew of in-form rivals, including The Country Club Invitational back-to-back champion Guido van der Valk, Bacolod leg titlist Ira Alido and Iloilo stage winner Rupert Zaragosa and overcome an exacting Luisita Golf and Country Club course kept in championship form year-round.

But the four winners also expect stiff competition from the rest of the 63-player starting field, including Que, Go and fellow title-hungry Clyde Mondilla, Michael Bibat, Zanieboy Gialon, Reymon Jaraula, Jhonnel Ababa, Jay Bayron, Marvin Dumandan, Gerald Rosales and Frankie Miñoza with Miguel Tabuena back to defend the crown he won over Mondilla in sudden death last year.

The event, held side-by-side with the 54-hole Ladies PGT, will also feature a number of young, talented players eager to hit paydirt in the fifth leg of this year’s circuit put up by ICTSI, including Sean Ramos, who tied for fourth in Iloilo and shared eighth place at Caliraya Springs.

PGT Q-School topnotcher Korean Rho Hyun Ho is also due for a big finish following a couple of roller-coaster campaigns, along with Elee Bisera, Gabriel Manotoc, Kristoffer Arevalo, Josh Jorge, Russel Bautista, Jonas Magcalayo and Ivan Monsalve.

Seasoned campaigners Jobim Carlos, Jerson Balasabas, Albin Engino, Orlan Sumcad, Anthony Fernando, Mars Pucay, Arnold Villacencio, Jun Bernis, Elmer Salvador and Ferdie Aunzo, on the other hand, go all-out to snap a long title drought on the Robert Trent Jones, Sr.-designed course that favors no particular player.

Fil-German Keanu Jahns and Japanese Gen Nagai, meanwhile, both try to mark their PGT return on a high note while Koreans Kim Minseong, Lee Hwan, Kang Chonkoo and Kim Seong Guk seek to stir up play in the 72-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

But focus will still be on the likes of Van der Valk, Alido, Zaragosa and Lascuña, who are all primed for another stab at PGT glory at the tight tree-lined layout with hard, bouncy fairways awash with water hazards.

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