Koreans Micah Shin and Kim Joo Hyung rejoin the Philippine Golf Tour Asia in Batangas, firming up the already formidable field slugging it out in the $100,000 Summit Point World 18 Challenge beginning tomorrow (Wednesday) at Summit Point Golf Club in Lipa.
Shin, 21, and Kim, 16, skipped the CAT Open leg of the region’s newest circuit in the CAT Open at Luisita last week but they are coming into the Summit event brimming with confidence, bringing in games honed up by stints in the local circuit and abroad.
The Davao-based Shin, who edged Miguel Tabuena to become the first non-Filipino to win The Country Club Invitational last February to add to his Asian Tour victory late last year, placed fifth in PGT Asia Southwoods ruled by Jay Bayron last June before campaigning in other regional tours.
Kim, on the other hand, scored his maiden triumph at PGT Pueblo de Oro last July and finished tied for sixth in his last PGT Asia event in the Aboitiz Invitational at Southwoods last Sept. The Riviera-based shotmaker, who has dominated the country’s amateur circuit to move up to the pro ranks last year, also vied in a couple of tournaments abroad and is among those tipped to contend in the seventh leg of the circuit put up by ICTSI at the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed layout which features replicas of 18 of the famous golf holes across the world,
But they are just but two of a host of fancied players in pursuit of the top $17,500 purse in the 72-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. with last week’s CAT Open winner James Ryan Lam also confident of making it two-in-row after winning the PGT Asia CAT Open last week.
Other local aces expected to figure in early contention are PGT Asia Forest Hills leg winner Jhonnel Ababa, Riviera titlist Jobim Carlos and Bayron, along with Luisita Invitational champion Clyde Mondilla, Elmer Salvador, Michael Bibat, Justin Quiban, Joenard Rates, Tony Lascuña and Orlan Sumcad.
But they will be up against a crack roster of foreign challengers, including Americans John Michael O’Toole, Nicolas Paez, Brett Munson and Lexus Keoninh, Thais Pasavee Lertvilai and Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij, Koreans Hwang Myung Chal and Park Jun Sung and Macedonian Peter Stojanovski.
Meanwhile, the pros test the challenging layout one last time in today’s (Tuesday) pro-am tournament with amateur partners and 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.
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