Six of the Top 12 in the current PGA of Taiwan (TPGA) money rankings banner a full-packed roster seeking to get even with the top guns of Philippine Golf Tour Asia in the $100,000 Nan Pao TPGA (PGA of Taiwan) Open, which blasts off tomorrow in Tainan City.
Song Mengyu, for one, is out for redemption after the sixth-ranked player in the TPGA OOM blew a huge lead in the final round and lost by two to Thai Wisut Artjanawat in Daan TPGA Open, the first-ever PGT Asia event held overseas in Taichung City last May.
But Mengyu and the rest of the 85-player strong local contingent are making sure not to play gracious hosts for the PGTA bets this week as they try to cash in on their local knowledge of the tree-lined, hazard-laden layout and avert another embarrassing setback at home.
But the PGTA aces are also coming into the 72-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI brimming with confidence, including Artjanawat along with 15 other Thais, among them Namchok Tantipokhakul, who is also gunning for a second leg win in the third season of the region’s emerging circuit after ruling the kickoff leg at Luisita last April.
Backing Mengyu are No. 7 Xie Donghong, ninth-ranked Yu Yuchen, No. 10 Lin Wenke, and 11th ranked Wang Congjie and No. 12 Huang Wei, who tied for fifth and seventh, respectively, in Daan Open.
The Thais actually dominated the previous PGTA event with six finishing among the Top 12 with the Philippines’ perennial regional rivals all geared up for another strong outing behind the likes of Ratchapol Jantavara, Tawit Polthai, Panuwat Muenlek and Sutijet Kooratapisan.
Filipinos Jay Bayron and Tony Lascuña also try to get into the mix with a strong start with the former out to improve on his tied for 27th finish the first time out and the latter upbeat of his chances after pulling out at the last-minute in Daan Open due to hand injury.
Other PGTA campaigners tipped to contend for the top $17,500 purse in the event backed by PLDT Enterprise, Meralco, BDO and PGT Asia official apparel Pin High are Aussie David Gleeson, winner of the Luisita leg last year, Lindsay Renolds of Canada, Japanese Keisuke Takahashi, Korean Shin Seung Woo and Luke Trocado of South Africa.
Meanwhile, Luisita will host the next PGTA stop on Oct. 16-19 for the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Open which James Ryan Lam won last year for his first career victory while Summit Point will host the ICTSI World 18 Challenge on Oct. 23-26 event where Joenard Rates is the defending champion.