Angelo Que knows he will need to dish out another solid game to score a repeat at ICTSI Anvaya Cove Invitational given the depth of the competing field. But the former three-time Asian Tour winner remains confident of his chances when the P3.5 million-event is fired off Wednesday in Morong, Bataan.
Que set a course-record bogey-free eight-under card in the final round to rally from six strokes down and beat Tony Lascuña by three for the inaugural crown at the Anvaya Cove Golf and Sports Club last year, making him the player to watch in the 72-hole championship kicking off this year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
The long-hitting shotmaker described his then closing round as “perfect,” adding: “Everything was in place, including my irons and putting.”
He hopes to brandish the same kind of game not just in the final round but in all four days in anticipation of a spirited challenge from an elite field bannered by the hottest player in the land today plus a slew of top guns all raring to get a crack at the top P650,000 purse put up by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Miguel Tabuena, for one, has opted to skip the Asian Tour leg in Bangladesh also set this week to vie against his local counterparts plus 15 foreign bets, who made the grade in the just-concluded PGT Q-School at Royal Northwoods.
Tabuena tied for fourth with Mars Pucay here last year but the 21-year-old phenom went on to win four tournaments in the circuit to end Lascuña’s three-year as the Order of Merit champion. He then capped his breakout season with a victory in the Philippine Open and opened his campaign this year with a strong joint fourth effort in the Singapore Open.
Aside from Tabuena, others going all out to foil Que’s back-to-back title drive in the event, organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by Adidas, TaylorMade, Pacsports Phils., Custom Clubmakers, KZG, Sharp and Anvaya Cove Golf and Sports Club, are Lascuña. Jay Bayron, Cassius Casas, Elmer Salvador, Orlan Sumcad, Frankie Miñoza and Pucay.
Clyde Mondilla, a former PGT winner, and Keanu Jahns head the bumper crop of young guns out to steal the show from the veterans while Q-School topnotcher Toru Nakajima of Japan leads the foreign challenge along with Aussie Kevin Marques, Koreans Seok Jun Min, Park Jun Hyeok and Kim In Jae, Canadian Rick Gibson and American John Jackson.
Meanwhile, the seaside layout, carved out in the Bataan mountains near the boundary of former US naval base in Subic and built inside the 470 hectares land owned by the Ayala Land Corp. where long-time golf patron ICTSI operates its container business, has been spruced up to championship condition ready to challenge the field’s shotmaking and putting skills and mental toughness.