The local talents go all out to defend their turf against the expected charge of Juvic Pagunsan, who will be gunning for back-to-back title bid in the ICTSI Apo Golf Invitational unfolding July 14 at the Apo Golf and Country Club in Davao.
Pagunsan humbled the homegrown pros in last year’s staging of the event, scoring a runaway wire-to-wire romp over Artemio Murakami and Jerome Delariarte with Elmer Salvador emerging as the top Davaoeno finisher at fourth.
“We need to win at Apo this time although it will be tough since there are so many good players around, not just Juvic,” said Lascuna in Filipino.
The Asian Tour veteran is coming off playoff loss to Benjie Magada in the recent ICTSI Orchard Classic and should be in top form heading into the 54-hole championship serving as the eighth leg of the 13-stage circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
“I’ve been hitting it well lately. Although I have never won at Apo, I think I will have a good chance,” said Cassius Casas, one of the most popular products of Davao, long considered as the spawning ground of golf talents.
Casas actually contended for the crown at The Orchard, starting the final round just one stroke behind Magada and Lascuna. But the many-time local champion, who dominated the local tour in the late 90s and early 2000s, sputtered and dropped to joint sixth.
Jay Bayron, who figured in the three-man playoff at The Orchard, is also tipped to carry the cudgels for the Davaoenos in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. along with Marvin Dumandan, who won the ICTSI-Apo leg in 2008, and Salvador, the reigning Philippine Open champion.
With the likes of Angelo Que, Mars Pucay, Murakami and Magada, young guns Ferdie Aunzo and Antonio Asistio II and unheralded but equally talented bets in Orlan Sumcad, Ramil Bisera, Elmer Saban and Omar Dungca,also in the fold, the battle for the top P200,000 could be headed for another playoff scenario.
The event is backed by byMJ Carr Golf Management, Jaguar, Land Rover, Studio 23, Balls TV, Srixon/Cleveland Golf, Callaway Golf, Odyssey and Golf Punk and media partners Business Mirror, Inquirer Golf Monthly, A Round of Golf, Pinoygolfer.com and Omnisource.
The Apo leg marks the start of the second half of this year’s circuit and kicks of the tour’s southern swing with the Del Monte Golf Club in Bukidnon staging the ninth leg on July 21-23. Cebu will host a leg for the first time on Aug. 11-13 at the Cebu Country Club before the tour takes a month-long break in September. Action resumes Oct. 6-8 for the ICTSI Royal Northwoods leg with the penultimate leg set Nov. 10-12 at Valley Golf.
The tour winds up at Canlubang for the ICTSI Tour Championship on Dec. 8-10.(pr)