The P2.5 million event actually marks the resumption of the local circuit after a month-long break that saw Juvic Pagunsan cap a record four-leg sweep via an eight-shot romp at Riviera and after American Tarik Can scrambled to win with a four-over card at Wack Wack in Aboitiz Invitational of PGT Asia last weekend. #ICTSI
The power hitting former Philippine Open champion actually nailed one last month while on a break from the region’s most lucrative circuit when he ran away with a five-stroke romp in the ICTSI Manila Southwoods stop of PGT Asia.
Tough pin placements likewise took the best from the bidders in the $100,000 event serving as the third leg of the third season of Philippine Golf Tour Asia as the Jack Nicklaus-designed layout proved a lot tougher in blustery conditions with a number of pre-tournament favorites missing the 50-plus ties cut at 143. They included last year’s winner Jay Bayron (71-144), first leg winner at Luisita Namchok Tantipokhakul of Thailand (73-144), multi-titled Tony Lascuña (74-144) and reigning PGT Order of Merit winner Jobim Carlos (75-151).
Thai Kammalas Namuangruk emerged on top of a crowded leaderboard that kept changing names up to the last putt, his run of closing even-par cards at the front preserving a two-under 68 and netting him a one-stroke lead over Michael Bibat and three others halfway through the ICTSI Iloilo Golf Challenge here yesterday.
Pagunsan had earlier hinted at skipping this week’s event after sweeping the Bacolod legs in Binitin and Marapara the last two weeks to take a much-needed break. But the ace Negrense made a change of heart and took the first flight from Negros to Iloilo Monday to resume his hunt for another crown.
The big-hitting ace from Sydney took charge in the opener of this event last year but failed to match Jobim Carlos’ record-setting 62 in the third and settled for runner-up honors for his best finish thus far in the circuit put up by ICTSI.
Tawit Polthai checked an alarming skid with birdies in the last two holes to salvage a four-over 76 and barely hang on to the clubhouse lead after 36 holes of the Solaire Philippine Open at The Country Club here.
Length and accuracy will be key to one’s title drive at the tight, hazard-laden par-71 layout with the foreign bidders also have to endure the heat and the wind expected to come into play in all four days of the $100,000 championship serving as the penultimate leg of the 2018-19 PGT Asia season.
Jay Bayron, whose late rally proved short at Binitin last week, put on a strong start this time, hitting four birdies at the front for a 66 and catching Keanu Jahns and Gerald Rosales in the lead at the start of the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club here yesterday.
Justin Quiban recovered with flourish from a frontside meltdown to nail his second career victory, pouncing on a clutch two-shot swing on No. 13 to turn a scary start into a resounding finish in the ICTSI Bacolod Golf Challenge here yesterday.