The Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena, Justin Quiban, Angelo Que and Lloyd Go take advantage of a brief break before the Asian Tour concludes in Chinese Taipei, firming up the already formidable field in the ICTSI The Country Club Match Play Invitational unfolding on Nov. 21 at TCC in Laguna.
The region’s premier Tour regulars will be coming into the head-to-head clashes in top form, having competed in a series of tournaments in various championship courses abroad with Tabuena looming as one of the marked players in the P2 million championship given his impressive form.
The two-time Philippine Open champion had two Top 6 finishes in the last four Asian Tour events but it was his victory in the DGC Open in India last March that fueled his rise to No. 2 in the Asian Tour Order of Merit ranking.
While Que, Quiban and Go haven’t achieved finishes higher than 17th in the same stretch, they remain confident in delivering solid performances in what has become the Philippine Golf Tour’s season-ending tournament which features the Top 32 players in the OOM ranking after the 10-leg circuit.
Jhonnel Ababa heads the stellar cast, having earned P1.5 million for victories at Villamor-Philippine Masters and Mimosa to secure his first OOM trophy. Inaugural champion and four-time OOM winner Tony Lascuña, who topped the Caliraya Springs leg, finished second with P1.325 million in winnings followed by Valley stop champion and No. 4 Reymon Jaraula, who pooled P1.064 million in earnings.
No. 3 Clyde Mondilla, the back-to-back titlist at Forest Hills and Del Monte, however, won’t be around as he is set to vie in the Japan Golf Tour qualifier also slated in the same week of the PGT match play organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Still, the tournament’s field boasts of a depth of talent with Rupert Zaragosa, who scored a breakthrough in Iloilo, Negros leg winner Ira Alido and former leg titlists Michael Bibat, Zanieboy Gialon, Jay Bayron, Elmer Salvador, Joenard Rates, Mars Pucay and legend Frankie Minoza all eager and ready for the title chase.
Also in the hunt are last year’s runner-up Keanu Jahns, Albin Engino, Sean Ramos, Marvin Dumandan, Dino Villanueva, Nilo Salahog, Fidel Concepcion, Rico Depilo, Elee Bisera, Art Arbole, Gerald Rosales, Ferdie Aunzo and Koreans Min Seong Kim and Hyun Ho Rho.
Adding to the competitive mix is Dutch Guido van der Valk, the reigning back-to-back TCC Invitational champion.
Held side-by-side with the PGT match play is the P1.5 million Ladies PGT, featuring the Top 16 in their side of the OOM race, spearheaded by defending champion Harmie Constantino, winner at Luisita and Villamor, with Florence Bisera, who nailed her maiden LPGT win at South Pacific, heading the crack list of challengers.
They also include Valley leg winner Mafy Singson and fellow amateur Laurea Duque, Mikha Fortuna, Pamela Mariano, Chihiro Ikeda, Apple Fudolin, Gretchen Villacencio, Sarah Ababa, Korean Seoyun Kim, Rev Alcantara, Kristine Fleetwood, Lovelyn Guioguio, Eva Miñoza and Lucy Landicho.