SILANG, Cavite – Local ace Tony Lascuña gets an early test of will and character as he slugs it out with American Brett Munson and Thai Pavin Tangkamolprasert in one of the featured flights in Wednesday’s kickoff of the Asian Development Tour’s ICTSI Riviera Class at Langer course here.
Lascuña, who firmed up his bid for a third straight Order of Merit crown on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour with a victory at Valley early this month, drew two of the top five players in the current ADT OOM ranking, guaranteeing an early shootout among the fancied players in the $60,000 event serving as the sixth leg of the ADT, the farm circuit of the Asian Tour.
“I’ve been playing well the last three tournaments and I’m sure that will help in my campaign here at Riviera,” said Lascuña, referring to his victory at ICTSI Valley Challenge and a joint runner-up finish at the Philippine Open at Wack Wack two weeks ago.
“I just ran out of holes at Wack Wack but I feel confident about my (title) chances here,” added Lascuña, who also had an impressive stint on the Asian Tour last month, including a joint 11th place effort at The Championship in Singapore.
Ranged against Munson and Tangkamolprasert in the 7 a.m. flight on No. 10, the ace Davaoeño shotmaker hopes to come out strong and build some kind of momentum and confidence needed on a course as demanding as Langer.
“I’ll try my best to hold my own against these two players and I think I have a chance against them due to my familiarity with Langer,” said Lascuña, referring to the challenging par-71 layout, which varies in character in every swirl of the wind.
Save for some par-5 holes, the long hitters do not necessarily hold an advantage at the tight, ravine-laced Langer layout, which punishes wayward shots and reward those with accurate ones, thus giving premium on strategy rather than power.
Munson, 28, won the ADT second leg in Malaysia last March and is expected to figure prominently in the four-day championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc., together with Tangkamolprasert, ranked No. 5 on the ADT OOM with a runner-up and third place finishes, both in Malaysia.
A slew of foreign players, including aspiring pros from over 17 countries, are also in the fold, including other ADT winners Japan’s Masaru Takahashi, England’s Grant Jackson, Scotland’s James Byrne and another Thai ace Sattaya Supupramai, who beat Lascuña at Mt. Malarayat last year.
“Riviera is not easy to play. It’s a thinking course, I guess. You put the ball in the right place to get to scoring position,” said Sattaya, currently fifth on the ADT Order of Merit.
Cebuano Charles Hong, No. 2 in the ICTSI PGT OOM ranking who dominated the local field at ICTSI Sherwood last month, is also upbeat of his chances in the event also serving as the sixth leg of the local circuit, saying the course is in great shape as well as his form.
“I feel confident here, the greens are rolling true,” said Hong, who is paired with Thai Poosit Supupramai and Japan’s Mitsuhiko Hashizume. “My game plan will be to not overpower the course. Keeping it in the fairway is important because the pins will be in tough spots.”
The other local aces vying in the event, backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports Phils. Inc., Srixon, Callaway, Mizuno, Empire Golf, Footjoy, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp and KZG with ABS-CBN Sports & Action, Balls and Inquirer Golf as media partners, are Frankie Miñoza, Elmer Salvador, Jay Bayron, Miguel Tabuena, Jhonnel Ababa, Mars Pucay, Cassius Casas and Gerald Rosales.