Angelo Que and Juvic Pagunsan head the elite cast in the rich The Country Club Invitational set Feb. 7-10, both driven to nail the coveted crown a record fourth time at the wind-raked TCC course in Laguna.
Pagunsan, the former Asian Tour No. 1, shattered Que’s grand slam dream last year, dominating the field with a four-day display of brilliant shotmaking en route to a four-stroke romp over Elmer Salvador in what has become the country’s major golfing championship.
But the former Philippine Open champion and three-time Asian Tour winner Que is out to redeem himself from a joint fourth place finish last year after romping off with back-to-back crowns from 2010, his sights set on the crown no less.
So do Pagunsan and the rest of the stellar 36-player field.
Not only will the winner pocket the P1.5 million purse from a record P5 million total pot but also gain the confidence heading to this year’s 17-stage ICTSI-Philippine Golf Tour which fires off in March.
That should make the title race wide open and doubly interesting on a course where no one holds a distinct advantage.
Last year’s ICTSI-PGT Order of Merit winner Tony Lascuna has actually built some kind of momentum when he ruled the Sabah Masters early this month, making him one of the chief title contenders in the 11th staging of the 72-hole event sponsored by golf patron Ricky Razon, chairman and CEO of ICTSI in honor of his late father and ICTSI founder, Enrique “Don Pocholo” Razon, Sr.
Others tipped to crowd the fancied bets are former champions Cassius Casas (2003), Jerome Delariarte (2005), Artemio Murakami (2009) along with young guns Zanie Boy Gialon, Miguel Tabuena, Charles Hong, Carl Santos-Ocampo and Clyde Mondilla.
Jay Bayron, winner of last year’s Asian Development Tour OOM crown, is also in the fold along with Asian Tour campaigner Mars Pucay and former local tour leg winners Mhark Fernando and Jhonnel Ababa and title-hungry Elmer Saban, Rufino Bayron, Richard Sinfuego and Jun Bernis;
Meanwhile, the traditional 18-hole pro-am event, featuring the leadings pros and ICTSI’s guests from various sectors, will be played on Feb. 6.
Completing the elite roster are Randy Garalde, Michael Bibat, Ferdie Aunzo, James Ryan Lam, Orlan Sumcad, Joenard Rates, Benjie Magada, Christopher delos Santos, Arnold Villavicencio, Rey Pagunsan, Anthony Fernando and Frankie Minoza.(pr)