he ICTSI Pradera Verde Classic comes off the wraps today with Antonio Lascuña and Jhonnel Ababa leading the local challenge in the $100,000 leg of the Philippine Golf Tour (PGT) Asia.
Lascuña hopes to firm up his bid for the Order of Merit (OOM) title with a victory here. He leads the OOM derby with $38,950 in earnings with two tournaments left in the third season.
The Davao golfer won one of two legs held in Taiwan last year.
“I feel good coming off a long break but so do the rest, so it’s going to be tough,” said Lascuña, 49.
Standing in Lascuña’s way are Ababa, a two-time champion of this tourney, and a host of international stars.
Play will be held at the relatively new course in Lubao, Pampanga where Ababa enjoys a good run of success.
“I’m ready and in top condition,” said Ababa, who won here twice.
Ababa, however, remained winless in the current season as he tied for 25th at Luisita and 19th at Southwoods in his first two starts.
He improved with three Top 10 finishes at Aboitiz (eighth), CAT Aboitiz (10th) and Summit Point (fifth).
The international cast includes Aussie Damien Jordan, Peter Stojanovski of Macedonia, Americans Josh Salah, Lexus Keoninh and Charles Lee, Koreans Myung Chal Hwang, Sangun Lee and Jun Sung Park,Spain’s Salvador Paya Vila, Thai Pachara Sakulyong, Singapore’s Gabriel Cheok, Finland’s Sean Avellan, and Japan’s Yuta Sudo and Toru Nakajima.
Another player to watch is Clyde Mondilla who is priming up for his defense of the Philippine Open crown.
Other notables in the field are 2018 PGT OOM winner Jobim Carlos, Jay Bayron, Elmer Salvador, Jerson Balasabas, Michael Bibat, Rufino Bayron and Gerald Rosales.
The four-day event is organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. and backed by PLDT Enterprise, Meralco, BDO and PGT Asia official apparel Pin High.