BACOLOD – From the tight Binitin layout to the wider Marapara course, Justin Quiban hopes to dish out the form he flaunted in dominating the ICTSI Bacolod Golf Challenge last week as he guns for a second straight victory in the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic unfolding tomorrow at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club here.
“I have my sights set for win No. 2 here and I hope it works out again,” said Quiban, who broke an eight-month slump with an emphatic five-stroke victory over Jay Bayron last weekend, dominating the stellar field with solid driving and iron game.
He hinted at using his driver again this week although the par-70, 6197-yard NOGCC layout also features tree-lined fairways and water hazards that punish errant drives and an unpredictable putting surface that could make or break one’s title bid.
That should make this week’s title chase a lot more exciting than the last time with a slew of big guns, including a number of foreign aces, raring to foil Quiban’s repeat bid in the P3.5 million event put up by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“For sure, this will be an entirely different fight. Everybody wants to strike back,” said Tony Lascuña during a break in practice in the event serving as the second of four tournaments making up the Visayan swing.
Quiban and Lascuña, along with a select group of pros, test the Marapara layout one last time in today’s (Tuesday) pro-am tournament where they will be paired with guests and officials of the event’s chief backers, including ICTSI, the NOGCC, BDO, KZG, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Sharp, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and PLDT.
Meanwhile, young Korean Kim Joo Hyung is back in the fold, seeking to score a follow-up to his breakthrough triumph at ICTSI Pueblo de Oro Championship last month that saw him edge Carlos by one in a thrilling finale to become the young winner on the circuit at 16.
Also in the hunt are compatriots Park Jun Sung and Hwang Myung Chal, Japanese Yu Ikeda and Keisuke Takahashi, Americans Lexus Keoninh and Andy Kang, Salvador Paya Villa of Spain, Macedonian Peter Stojanovski and Manila-based Dutch Guido Van der Valk.
Others expected to crowd the favorites for the crown are reigning Phl Masters champion Jerson Balasabas, PGT Order of Merit winner Clyde Mondilla, Johvanie Abaño, Michael Bibat, Richard Sinfuego, Albin Engino, Zanieboy Gialon, Ira Alido, Elmer Salvador, Art Arbole, Erwin Arcillas, Ferdie Aunzo, Marvin Dumandan, Mars Pucay, Gerald Rosales, Nilo Salahog, Orlan Sumcad, Anthony Fernando, local aces Rey Pagunsan and Robert Pactolerin.