The Philippine Golf Tour (PGT) starts its grueling season-ending stretch down south today with top guns from talent-rich Mindanao eager to dominate in the ICTSI Pueblo de Oro Championship in Cagayan de Oro City.
Jay Bayron, Tony Lascuña, Jhonnel Ababa and Elmer Salvador along with Clyde Mondilla, Reymon Jaraula, Johvanie Abaño, Magno Arancon, Jelbert Gamolo and Noel Langamin set out for four days of battle of shotmaking and putting at the Pueblo de Oro layout expected to provide a different kind of challenge for the men of the tour coming off a punishing test at the tight Wack-Wack East last week.
But dangers also lurk at Pueblo’s winding fairways, menacing bunkers and deep ravines with the wind expected to add up to the challenge, making the title chase in the P2.5 million event kicking off a four-leg Mindanao swing worth watching.
Del Monte will host the next stop on 18 to 21 September while Davao takes its turn on 2 to 5 October for the ICTSI Apo Golf Invitational before the ICTSI-sponsored circuit winds up its 10th season at the South Pacific Golf and Leisure Estates, also in Davao, on 9 to 12 October.
But Bayron, Mondilla and company also expect a fierce challenge from the rest of the 73-player field, including Ira Alido, former Phl Masters titlist Jerson Balasabas, Michael Bibat, Marvin Dumandan, Zanieboy Gialon, Keanu Jahns, Mars Pucay, Joenard Rates, Gerald Rosales and Rupert Zaragosa.
The young Alido, for one, is due for a breakthrough with the 18-year-old rising star vowing to come out stronger and a lot tougher after blowing his title bid at Aboitiz Invitational with a final round foldup.
Twenty-four foreign bets are also keen on spoiling the locals’ title bid in the 72-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc., all ready to duplicate young Korean Kim Joo Young’s title run here last year, including Thai Kammalas Namuangruk and Macedonia’s Peter Stojanovski.