Dye course holds key to ICTSI Eagle Ridge title run
The men of the tour gear up for a shootout in the first two days at Eagle Ridge but brace for survival in the third round, ensuring a wild, wide-open finish in the much-awaited ICTSI Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club Tour Proper firing off Tuesday (April 8) in Gen. Trias, Cavite.
The novel format of the upcoming P3 million tournament serving as the third leg of this year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour makes the title chase doubly interesting and challenging with the cream of the crop tackling four different courses in all four days at Eagle Ridge’s sprawling golf complex – a first in Philippine golf.
The 100-player field will be divided into two and play the Norman and Faldo courses in the first two days with the surviving 40-plus ties after 36 holes moving over to the unforgiving Dye course for the third round.
The final round will be played at the Aoki layout.
“I think the players should take advantage of the friendly Norman and Faldo courses. In fact, they should post good scores at them then hold on at Dye then give it a go at Aoki,” said Eagle Ridge general manager Raymond Bunquin.
Truly, the dreaded Dye course should make or break one’s title bid with each hole of the 7,255-yard, hazard-laden layout featuring either a ravine, a deep bunker, a pond or tall grass with the wind also expected to come into play at most, if not all holes.
Each course, however, offers a different kind of challenge, especially if the wind comes into play.
“They should also be wary of the Faldo course because it could get testy there too depending on course condition and pin placement,” said Bunquin of the 7,343-yard layout which boasts of a tough hole at No. 16, a 447-yard par-4 where the green is sadistically placed beside a ravine.
ICTSI Splendido champion Jay Bayron and ICTSI John Hay stage winner Jun Rates head the stellar cast in the event sponsored by International Container Terminals Services, Inc. and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. which offers a whopping top purse of P550,000.
Others joining the hunt are reigning back-to-back Order of Merit winner Tony Lascuña, three-time Asian Tour winner Angelo Que, the eminent Frankie Miñoza, former OOM winner Elmer Salvador and young turks Miguel Tabuena and Clyde Mondilla.
Meanwhile, the leading pros team up with their amateur partners from the event’s chief backers, including Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Cleveland, Pacsports, Srixon, Callaway, Sharp and FootJoy and media partners Balls TV and ABS-CBN in Monday’s traditional pro-am tournament.
The Eagle Ridge format is just one of the many innovations the PGTI has implemented the last few years in its continuing effort to make the circuit more interesting and provide new challenges to the men of the tour. It also put up the North and South duel two years ago, held the first-ever ladies pro circuit – the ICTSI Ladies PGT – last year and staged a separate Q-School for foreign players this year.
Others in the fold are Rufino Bayron, Carl Santos-Ocampo, Orlan Sumcad, Rey Pagunsan, Jessie Balasabas, Mars Pucay, Anthony Fernando, Paul Echavez, Mhark Fernando and Jhonnel Ababa.
Manila-based Canadian Rick Gibson, the best placed foreign player at John Hay at joint ninth, is also tipped to lead the foreign contingent along with Swede Malcolm Kokocinski, Japanese Tomo Yoshinaga and Korean Park Gyu Ha.
Sherwood Hills, also in Cavite, will host the fourth leg on April 23-26 before action shifts to Valley Golf in Antipolo for the fifth leg for the ICTSI Valley Golf Challenge on May 7-10.
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