Angelo Que signed up for the ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship, boosting the local challenge against a strong international field when the $60,000 event, capping the Asian Development Tour’s two-week swing here, is played beginning Wednesday at The Orchard’s Palmer course in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
Que, a three-time Asian Tour champion, skipped last week’s ICTSI Riviera Classic for a much-deserved rest following a grueling two-month campaign on the local circuit and the Asian Tour. And the former Philippine Open winner hopes to contend for this week’s crown in a bid to complete the Filipinos’ sweep of the ADT events following Elmer Salvador’s five-stroke romp at Riviera over the weekend.
But Salvador, along with reigning back-to-back ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit champion Tony Lascuña, Miguel Tabuena, Jay Bayron and Mars Pucay will not be around as they opted to compete in the Asian Tour’s Queen’s Cup in Thailand, also slated this week.
That leaves Que as the top local bet for the top $10,500 purse in this seventh leg of the ADT and the ICTSI PGT where he finished in joint 18th when the event was last held at Orchard two years ago.
“I think I have a pretty good chance but a lot of good foreign players are here, too so it will be tough,” said Que, still in search for a first win this year after finishing joint third at ICTSI Eagle Ridge last April and placing fifth at ICTSI John Hay last March.
Other local top guns tipped to contend in the four-day championship, sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc., are ICTSI Sherwood Hills winner Charles Hong, John Hay leg champion Jun Rates, Marvin Dumandan, Jhonnel Ababa, Clyde Mondilla, Rufino Bayron, Carl Santos-Ocampo and veteran Robert Pactolerin, who turned in an impressive fifth place finish at Riviera.
Cassius Casas, winner of the PGT’s final leg last year at Wack Wack and this year’s The Country Club Invitational, is also out to atone for his missed cut stint at Riviera, along with Zanie Boy Gialon, Rey Pagunsan, Michael Bibat, Ferdie Aunson, Jessie Balasabas and Mhark Fernando.
Peter Richardson, who finished tied for second at Riviera, heads the crack foreign cast that includes fellow Englishman Grant Jackson, Japanese Masaru Takahasi, Mitsuhiko Hashizume and Tomokazu Yoshinaga and American Brett Munson, who is seeking for a follow-up to his maiden ADT win in Malaysia last March.
“I feel that there are a lot of opportunities here in Asia. That’s why I came all the way here from the US. It has been really enjoyable playing on the ADT because the tournaments are very well organized,” said Munson, who is also raring to make up for this so-so joint 41st place finish at Riviera.
Meanwhile, Que and the other leading pros test the Palmer Course in today’s pro-am tournament along with the amateur guest players of the event’s chief backers, inciuding Nike Golf, Pacsports Phils. Inc., Srixon, Callaway, Mizuno, Empire Golf, Footjoy, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp and KZG.