Tony Lascuña, Jay Bayron and Clyde Mondilla make their final push for the coveted Order of Merit title as they set out for the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Open beginning Wednesday at the Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac.
Lascuña, winner of four legs, including three straight at Eagle Ridge, Forest Hills and Bacolod, continues to lead the OOM derby with P2,725,948 in earnings after 14 legs with P450,000 staked in the upcoming P2.5 million championship, anything can happen heading to the final two stages of the tour sponsored by ICTSI.
Bayron, back-to-back champion at Aboitiz Invitational and Riviera Classic, is just behind with P2,433,028 in winnings while Mondilla has piled up P2,397,254 on three victories, including at Eastridge, Calatagan and Mt. Malarayat, setting the stage for a three-way battle for the OOM title.
“It’s going to exciting. I expect Jay and Clyde to make their charge but I am ready and I really want to reclaim the OOM crown,” said Lascuña.
The amiable Davaoñeo shotmaker has held the OOM title for three straight years from 2012-14 until Miguel Tabuena posted a breakout season last year, winning four tournaments, including the CAT Open, and handily taking the crown.
But the 21-year-old Tabuena has set his sights on the bigger Asian Tour and the European Tour, leaving the fight to the leading three players in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
With Tabuena out, Lascuña looms as the player to beat as the latter also reigned at the quaint layout last April when he dominated the ICTSI Luisita Championship.
But with Bayron and Mondilla also set to step their respective OOM drive and a slew of others raring to hit paydirt before the season’s end, another down-to-the-wire finish is seen the way it did at Riviera and Mt. Malarayat, which were decided via playoffs, and at Splendido ruled by Elmer Salvador in come-from-behind fashion.
Others tipped to contend are Orlan Sumcad, Jhonnel Ababa, Zanieboy Gialon, Jobim Carlos, Cassius Casas, Michael Bibat, Rufino Bayron, Mhark Fernando and a host of foreign aces, headed by Dutch Guido Van der Valk and American Micah Shin.
Meanwhile, the final leg will be held Sept. 21-24 at Wack Wack for the ICTSI Tournament Players Championship.