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Friday, July 19, 2024

Top guns, young turks gird for ICTSI Caliraya golf showdown

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THE Philippine Golf Tour gears up for another sapirited, rousing clash as it heads to the scenic Caliraya Springs Golf Club for the ICTSI Caliraya Springs Championship unfolding on April 9 in Cavinti, Laguna.

The circuit has already seen a dynamic start to the season with different champions claiming victory in the first two legs at Apo and Palos Verdes in Davao, adding an element of unpredictability to the upcoming P2.5 million tournament.

Tony Lascuña showcased his enduring prowess to post a wire-to-wire triumph at the challenging mountain-top course last year. The 53-year-old campaigner has remained a formidable contender, securing a tie for third at the season-opening Apo Golf Classic, followed by a joint 10th place finish at the Palos Verdes Championship.

The Tour’s only four-time Order of Merit winner, Lascuña is fueled by a relentless desire to climb back to the top, despite facing stiff competition from both veteran campaigners and emerging talents.

The season has already witnessed Jhonnel Ababa’s thrilling sudden death win over Guido van der Valk at Apo, and Lloyd Go breaking a four-year drought for his maiden PGT victory at Palos Verdes.

But while Ababa found challenges in maintaining his form, van der Valk has emerged as a model of consistency, securing runner-up positions in both tournaments thus far.

Meanwhile, Caliraya Springs, set 1,200 feet above sea level, presents a unique challenge with its undulating terrain and tricky surface, leveling the playing field for the competitors.

Lascuña, however, expressed optimism about his chances of repeating last year’s dominant performance despite a recent battle with illness during his play at Palos Verdes.

The amiable shotmaker, who balances his time between competing and coaching at Manila Southwoods, remains dedicated to his practice regimen.

“I feel that I can make it back to the top. My focus remains unchanged – practice is key,” said Lascuña, acknowledging the difficulty of juggling teaching and competitive play.

Also setting their sights on the crown in the 72-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI are Keanu Jahns, Nilo Salahog, Ira Alido, Sean Ramos, Rupert Zaragosa, Reymon Jaraula, Ryan Monsalve, Kristoffer Arevalo, Jay Bayron and Marvin Dumandan.

Organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and supported by PGTI official apparel Kampfortis Golf, the event is further enhanced by the participation of international players such as Min Hyeok Yu, Collin Wheeler, Mingi Kim Koji Inooue, Kei Matsuoka, Gwon Minkook, Toru Nakajima and Ozeki Kakeru, making for an unpredictable, exciting championship.

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