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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Ababa eyes continued success at Palos Verdes

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DAVAO – Jhonnel Ababa, buoyed by his recent sudden victory at Apo, approaches the ICTSI Palos Verdes Championship with cautious optimism when the P2 million event unfolds on Tuesday (March 19), also here.

Not only does he face a formidable lineup of competitors, but he also encounters unfamiliar territory at the Palos Verdes course, unlike the previous venue of the Philippine Golf Tour. Ababa also expresses concern about the scorching heat expected to double the temperature back home.

“It’s hot at Palos Verdes and we rarely get to play there, so there’s no home course advantage,” said the reigning PGT Order of Merit champion, referring to the par-72 layout, considered one of the most beautiful yet challenging courses in the country.

Featuring island greens and various types of hill slopes and undulating putting surface, the golf course in Barangay Mandug is known for its attractiveness and difficulty.

But what piques Ababa’s interest most is the competitive field. Guido van der Valk, whom the Borough Lasik Center-backed shotmaker nipped in the first playoff hole at Apo, is surely brimming with confidence after a strong showing in the kickoff leg of this year’s 10-leg circuit sponsored by ICTSI.

Local stars Tony Lascuña and Jay Bayron, who tied for third last week, are determined to put a stronger performance this week, while several foreign PGT Q-School graduates, who contended early in the Apo Golf Classic but faltered at the finish, are eager to seek redemption.

They include Americans Drew Proctor and Collin Wheeler, Koreans Gwon Minwook and Min Hyeok Yu and Japanse Toru Nakajima,

Local young talents, including third round leader Kristoffer Arevalo and Q-School topnotcher Aidric Chan are also raring to bounce back and prove their worth after disappointing outings.

Arevalo, who impressed with a superb 54-hole performance, stumbled with a closing 81, sliding from the top to joint 13th. However, the 24-year-old is expected to learn from the setback and improve.

Chan, on the other hand, aims to find his form and touch after a four-day struggle to replicate his performance that saw him top the qualifiers at the nearby South Pacific.

Rookie Ryan Monsalve, meanwhile, seeks to capitalize on his impressive fifth-place finish at Apo, anchored by a two-under 70, one of the only three best cards in the final round.

Despite these notable names, there’s a host of players ready to challenge, including Keanu Jahns, Zanieboy Gialon, Clyde Mondilla, Rupert Zaragosa, Ira Alido, Reymon Jaraula, Michael Bibat and Marvin Dumandan, promising another thrilling battle of skills and character in the four-day championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and supported by PGTI official apparel Kampfortis Golf.

Meanwhile, after the Holy Week break, the Tour resumes with the ICTSI Caliraya Springs Championship on April 9-12 at the Caliraya Golf Club in Cavinti, Laguna.

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