Relieved of the pressure after nailing his first win, James Ryan Lam goes for a second straight victory this week, armed with a swing and putting touch that stood out the last time out at Luisita.
But he would need more of them as he sets out for the Summit Point World 18 Challenge starting Wednesday, Oct. 31 at the Summit Point Golf Club in Lipa, Batangas where a tougher test awaits the stellar international cast beefed up by at least three foreign aces making their return to Philippine Golf Tour Asia.
Young Korean Kim Joo Hyung, Thai Pasavee Lertvilai and American Brett Munson have signed up for the 72-hole championship, all ready to slug it out with the best and the brightest in the $100,000 event serving as the seventh leg of the second season of the region’s newest circuit put up by ICTSI.
Kim bested PGT Order of Merit winner Jobim Carlos to rule the PGT Del Monte leg last July, Lertvilai is a former PGT Asia Q-School topnotcher, while Munson is a former winner in the other regional tour.
They join Lam and 81 others plus 12 sponsor invitees in the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.-organized event at the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed layout which features replicas of the 18 famous golf holes across the world, including Pine Valley’s No. 14 (No. 2), Augusta National’s No. 12 (No. 13), Winged Foot’s No. 10 (No. 17) and St. Andrews’ No. 14 (No. 16), among others.
Lam ended up tied at 34th when Summit Point hosted the PGT’s Players Championship last year, which Clyde Mondilla won to cap a sterling season. But after three missed cut stints in this year’s PGT Asia, Lam worked on his game and placed fifth at Forest Hills last July, finished sixth at Aboitiz last month before nailing the big win at the CAT Open last Friday.
One thing going for the 30-year-old shotmaker, son of a Malaysian-Chinese and a Filipina from Lipa, is he would be playing practically at home.
That makes him the marked man in the upcoming event with the likes of American Josh Salah, Jhonnel Ababa and Ira Alido out to sustain their late charge that netted them top five spots in the CAT Open and Jobim Carlos itching to rebound from his final round meltdown along with Elmer Salvador, Aussie Jack Sullivan and Mondilla.
Meanwhile, a select group of pros test the challenging par-72 layout one last time in the pro-am tournament on Tuesday where they will be paired with amateur guests of the event’s chief backers, including ICTSI, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc.