A power-packed cast from at least 15 countries gears up for a pair of four-day battles of shotmaking and wits beginning Tuesday (Jan. 14) for the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational with Jhonnel Ababa seeking to keep the crown he won in emphatic fashion in 2018 at the Aoki course and extend his run of luck in the circuit.
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
Juvic Pagunsan turned the final round of the ICTSI Riviera Classic into a victory walk, closing out with a 70 for a whopping eight-shot victory over Tony Lascuña and a record fourth straight championship on the Philippine Golf Tour
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).
Proving he’s a cut above the rest, Pagunsan hit three birdies at the front to tie third round joint leader Rene Menor at the helm then recovered from a bogey on No. 10 with a birdie on the 17th to match Bibat’s closing 67 and force a sudden death at 272s.
Pastor’s last feat complemented his birdie putt on the par-5 14th that checked a rollercoaster round that featured two birdies against two bogeys and an eagle against a double bogey that put the Spaniard to within reach of a dream victory on the Philippine Golf Tour after topping the PGT Q-School (foreign) at Splendido last February.
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.