Singapore's Choo Tze Huang, Gregory Foo and Marc Ong along with Canadian Lindsey Renolds and Thais Poom Saksansin and Tawan Phongpun hope to make the most of their stint in the ICTSI Riviera Golf Challenge, all aiming for a top finish when the Philippine Golf Tour Asia event is fired off tomorrow (Wednesday, March 27) in Silang, Cavite.
The six are among the 16 invitees to the $100,000 championship serving as the penultimate leg of the second PGT Asia through 2018-19 put up by ICTSI with Huang and former fellow national team mainstays Foo and Ong marking their return to local turf where they fought many a battle with the local aces during their amateur days.
The event also serves as prelude to the 101st Solaire Philippine Open on April 3-6 at The Country Club in Laguna, making this week’s 72-hole championship at the tight, hazard-laden Langer layout crucial for majority of the 120-player field heading to Asia’s oldest National Open at one of the country’s toughest courses.
Spain’s Marcos Pastor, who topped the recent PGT Q-School at the wind-raked Splendido, is also in the fold along with American Ben Weir, Taiwanese Wang Tsung Chieh, Yang Fei Hao and Lee Chao Ha and Teegan Moore and Dean Fourie of South Africa and Thai Kammalas Namuangruk.
Former Asia’s No. 1 and Japan PGA Tour campaigner Juvic Pagunsan has also signed up for both events organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., joining reigning PGT Order of Merit winner and defending champion Jobim Carlos as spearheads of the local challenge in the event that also features fellow top guns Jhonnel Ababa, Tony Lascuña, Clyde Mondilla and Jay Bayron.
Angelo Que, who tied for 25th in last Sunday’s Maybank Championship, is also in both the Riviera and Phl Open rosters, further toughening up the Filipinos’ bid in the twin events marking a busy schedule for the locals and foreign bidders alike.
But the Filipino aces brace for a tough encounter with the talent-laden foreign delegation boosted by PGTA leg winners David Gleeson and Damien Jordan of Australia, PGT titlist Nicolas Paez of the US, Thai stalwarts Pasavee Lertvilai, Wisut Artjanawat and Nirun Sae-ueng, PGT winner Guido Van der Valk of the Netherlands, and Americans Brett Munson and Joshua Salah.
Meanwhile, the leading pros will team up with guests and officials of the event’s chief backers ICTSI, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Empire Golf and Sports and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc. in today’s (Tuesday) traditional pro-am tournament.
Other local aces tipped to contend are Phl Masters champion Jerson Balasabas, PGTA CAT Open titlist James Ryan Lam and PGTA Summit Point victor Joenard Rates and young guns Ira Alido, Keanu Jahns and Justin Quiban.
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