A two-week Visayas swing marks the resumption of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour with Iloilo hosting the ICTSI Golf Challenge on July 16-19 at the Iloilo Golf and Country Club in Sta. Barbara and the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club staging the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic the following week.
Miguel Tabuena topped the last ICTSI PGT tournament in the P3.5 million Manila Masters at Eastridge last month before the circuit took a one-month break to give way for the two-leg ICTSI Ladies PGT events at Riviera and John Hay.
That makes the men of the tour hungry for recognition and the top P200,000 purse with Tony Lascuña seeking to firm up his bid for a third straight Order of Merit crown with a third leg victory after ruling the ICTSI Eagle Ridge and ICTSI Valley stages of the circuit sponsored by International Container Terminals Services, Inc.
The Iloilo and Bacolod events, which both offer a total prize fund of P1 million, also mark the return of the circuit to Visayas after a one-year break with Mars Pucay snapping a two-year spell to nip Tabuena. Zanie Boy Gialon, on the other hand, topped the rain-shortened Bacolod leg in 2012.
Meanwhile, Lascuña remains on top of the OOM derby with earnings of P1,484,065 halfway through the 16-stage tour organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
But Elmer Salvador, winner of the Asian Development Tour leg at ICTSI Riviera, is right behind with P1,342,750 while Tabuena is in third with P1,057,840, boosted by his three-shot romp over Salvador at Eastridge where he pocketed P650,000.
Cebuano Charles Hong, who dominated the ICTSI Sherwood stage of the event backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Srixon, FootJoy, It’s More Fun in the Philippines, Callaway, Mizuno, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Sharp and KZG, is in fourth with P936,850 followed by Jay Bayron, winner at ICTSI Splendido, with P827,845, ADT ICTSI Orchard leg champion Rufino Bayron with P823,128, Marvin Dumandan with P634,865, Micah Shin with P611,366, ICTSI John Hay leg winner Jun Rates with P558,024, and Jhonnel Ababa with P557,574.
After the Visayas legs, action shifts back to Luzon for the Aboitiz Invitational, which will now be held at Riviera’s Couples course on Aug. 27-30 after a three-year staging in Cebu,
Another P3.5 million event, the ICTSI Pilipinas Invitational, is set Sept. 3-6 at the Manila Southwoods with Royal Northwoods Golf and Country Club in San Rafael, Bulacan hosting the next stop on Sept. 17-20.
The Summit Point in Batangas will stage an ICTSI PGT event for the first time on Oct. 8-11 for the ICTSI Summit Point Golf Classic while Canlubang will host the penultimate leg on Oct. 21-24 for the ICTSI Canlubang Golf Challenge.
The ICTSI Tournament Players’ Championship, the fourth and last P3.5 million event, wraps up the season on Nov. 12-15 at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.