Angelo Que and Tony Lascuña, two of the country’s seasoned campaigners, have committed to play in the Asian Tour restart in November, 18 months after the region’s premier circuit suspended play due to the global health crisis.
“Yes, I’ll play in the Asian Tour,” Que, a regular Japan Golf Tour campaigner, said late Tuesday.
A three-time Asian Tour winner, including the Philippine Open at Wack Wack in 2008, Que will be bracing against an international field hungry for recognition after being sidelined by the pandemic the past year-and-a-half. But the Filipino ace will be coming to the Tour resumption in top form, having competed in Japan the last five months.
The 43-year-old shotmaker, however, couldn’t get the breaks as he had placed no higher than tied at 14th in 14 tournaments marred by four missed cuts.
Like Que, Lascuña is thrilled more than anxious after receiving an invite from the Asian Tour Tuesday, believing he still got what it takes to compete against a mix of veterans and a slew of rising stars.
“Lalaban ako (I’ll fight),” said Lascuña, who has stayed in shape through regular practice rounds at Manila Southwoods. He also conducts swing lessons at the premier golf club’s well-kept range in Carmona, Cavite.
Though he missed nailing his first Asian Tour title with a playoff loss to Thai Chapchai Nirat in the 2014 Selangor Masters, Lascuña has been a regular fixture in the circuit and in its farm league, the Asian Development Tour.
The Davaoeño ace has also dominated the Philippine Golf Tour for years and has been a strong force before the local circuit took a hiatus due to Covid-19. He also became the first Filipino to win in the PGA of Taiwan in 2019, which also served as part of the PGT Asia.
The other Filipino stalwarts expected to play are Miguel Tabuena and Justin Quiban, both Asian Tour card holders.
The Asian Tour on Tuesday announced it will stage a series of season-ending tournaments to finish its 2020 to 2021 schedule, starting with the Blue Canyon Championship on 25 to 28 November at the Blue Canyon Country Club and the Laguna Phuket Championship on 2 to 5 December, both in Phuket, Thailand. Both events will offer $750,000 in total prize money.
In January, the Tour is planning to stage two more tournaments in Singapore over consecutive weeks.
“After a difficult 18 months the Asian Tour is thrilled to announce that it is able to restart in the last quarter of 2021, and most importantly expedite the return of our membership to elite competition,” said Cho Minn Thant, commissioner and chief executive officer, Asian Tour.
“The Asian Tour has been working around the clock to resume competition and crown the Order of Merit list champion a challenge made more difficult by our reach across many countries and each of their Covid-related protocols. We are confident of being able to complete our season despite several remaining challenges created by the pandemic,” he added.
The sprint to the season’s finish line is expected to be more exciting than ever with the top 30 players from the final Order of Merit to receive automatic entry into next year’s season-opening US$5 million Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers.
The four Asian Tour events played in early 2020 will be added to the blended 2020-2021 schedule. Australian Wade Ormsby has led the Order of Merit throughout the hiatus since winning the Hong Kong Open last January.
Thai Jazz Janewattananond, the 2019 Order of Merit champion, has confirmed he will compete in the Phuket events.