TONY Lascuña gears up for an uphill battle in pursuit of back-to-back crowns and third title on the Philippine Golf Tour as he takes on an elite field the ICTSI Classic beginning tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa City, Batangas.
Winner here in 2015, Lascuña boosted his confidence to reclaim the crown from last year’s champion Clyde Mondilla by winning the last PGT event, the ICTSI Forest Hills Championship where he warded off an early final round charge by Jhonnel Ababa, turned back Miguel Tabuena midway through before beating Zanieboy Gialon by three.
“I’m good and confident. I just hope my putting will click in all four days,” said Lascuña, who also won the ICTSI Manila Masters at Eastridge last April.
But he admits it will take a lot of hard work plus luck to beat a field bolstered by the return of Japan PGA Tour campaigner and Anvaya Cove Invitational runaway winner Angelo Que, along with Mondilla, Gialon, Ababa and a slew of others making up the 75-player roster in the P2 million event sponsored by ICTSI.
Mondilla, for one, is out to snap a skid after stringing back-to-back victories at Southwoods and Philippine Masters. He struggled to finish tied for fifth at Calatagan won by Gialon then retired in the second round at Forest Hills after a 73-76 effort.
Gialon also hopes to sustain his impressive form that netted him a win and a runner-up finish in the last two tournaments of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Veterans Jay Bayron and Elmer Salvador are also expected to figure prominently in the battle for the top P360,000 purse along with Ababa, Ferdie Aunzo, Jerson Balasabas, Rufino Bayron, Michael Bibat, Marvin Dumandan, Mhark Fernando, Frankie Miñoza and Orlan Sumcad.
Also out to spoil the local aces’ title drive is a compact cast of foreign players, including Koreans Lee Ho Youn and Park Jun Sung, Australian Nathan Park, Peter Stojanovski of Macedonia and Manila-based Dutch Guido Van der Valk, all hoping to come up with a strong start and fuel their respective title bid in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf, in today’s (Tuesday) pro-am tournament.