Marvin Dumandan and Ferdie Aunzo hope to feed on the memory of their previous victories at Royal Northwoods as they try to snap their long title drought in P1.5 million-ICTSI Royal Northwoods Championship, which gets going Wednesday in San Rafael, Bulacan.
Dumandan edged Tony Lascuna on the second playoff hole to capture the crown here in 2010. But like Aunzo, who nailed his maiden pro win at Northwoods in 2009, the power-hitting Davaoeno shotmaker struggled with poor form and hardly contended for the crown in the succeeding years.
“It’s been a long time since I last won, or even got a crack at the crown but I like my chances this week, especially with the big guns competing on the Asian Tour,” said Dumandan, referring to the likes of four-leg winner Lascuna, ICTSI Riviera Classic champion Elmer Salvador, three-time Asian Tour titlist Angelo Que, ICTSI Splendido leg winner Jay Bayron, The Country Club Invitational winner Cassius Casas and ICTSI Manila Masters champion Miguel Tabuena, who are busy campaigning in the region’s premier circuit.
“But the thing is everybody is hungry for a win, so it’s anybody’s race,” added Dumandan, who placed ninth in the last ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour leg at Manila Southwoods.
Aunzo, the former amateur hotshot who had near-misses the last few years, placed fifth in the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic last July but struggled to finished tied for 25th at Aboitiz Invitational and turned in a joint 16th place effort at Southwoods where he opened with a 76, rebounded with a 66 but faltered again with a 73 before closing out with a 68.
“Laban ako but I have to be consistent to contend since there are too many strong players now,” said Aunzo.
The event is making its return to the circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. after a two-year absence with the par-72, bunker-laden layout expected to provide a different kind of challenge to the men of the tour.
Meanwhile, Dumandan, Aunzo and the other leading pros team up with the guests and amateur players of the event’s chief backers Nike Golf, Pacsports Phils. Inc., Srixon, Callaway, Mizuno, Empire Golf, Footjoy, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp and KZG in today’s (Tuesday) pro-am tournament.
Also tipped to vie for the top P270,000 purse in the 72-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. are ICTSI Sherwood Hills leg winner Charles Hong, ICTSI Orchard Championship champion Rufino Bayron, ICTSI John Hay stage winner Jun Rates, recent Asean PGA Tour leg champion Jhonnel Ababa, Michael Bibat, Anthony Fernando, Mhark Fernando, Zanie Boy Gialon and Mars Pucay.
Others seeing action are Robert Pactolerin, Clyde Mondilla, Artemio Murakami, Edward Reyes, Gerald Rosales, Elmer Saban, Orlan Sumcad, Arnold Villacencio, Dutch Guido Van der Valk and Pagunsan.