The ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour kicks off its new season next week with a record number of events, including seven four-day tournaments offering no less than P2.5 million in total prizes, ensuring an abundance of rewarding playing opportunities for the men of the tour.
The ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic will be played March 20-23 with a stellar field, led by Frankie Minoza and teener Miguel Tabuena, vying for the top P450,000 purse in the first of seven 72-hole championships lined up by the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. and chief backer International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Minoza is coming off a big win at The Country Club Invitational, actually the unofficial kick-off leg of the circuit where the former two-time Philippine Open champion bested the cream of the country’s pro crop, including brothers Rufino and Jay Bayron in a playoff to clinch the coveted crown.
He hopes to flash the same form and confidence at Sherwood although a slew of others will be out to foil his bid for a second straight crown, including Tabuena, who won two legs in last year’s staging of the annual tour.
Others in the early roster are Jhonnel Ababa, Jessie Balasabas, Jun Bernis, Cassius Casas, Marvin Dumandan, Mhark Fernando, Anthony Fernando, Charles Hong, Zanieboy Gialon, Clyde Mondilla, Artemio Murakami, Mars Pucay, Carl Santos-Ocampo and the Bayron brothers.
Custom Clubmakers, one of the chief backers of the circuit, will also give P50,000 to the “Custom Clubmakers Player of the Year” for the pro with the most number of wins after the season.
The leading pros, meanwhile, will test the wind-raked, hazard-laden Sherwood Hills in the traditional pro-am tournament on March 19 where they will team up with amateur partners from the event’s supporters, including ICTSI, Sharp, Nike Golf, Callaway, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Mizuno, Cleveland Golf and Foot Joy with support from Event Captain, Inc., Omnisource Inti’l. TPGAP and media partners Balls, A Round of Golf, Inquirer Golf, Studio 23 and Pinoygolfer.com.
The ICTSI PGT, launched in late 2008 with a four-leg tournament, has blossomed to become the country’s premier pro tour in PGTI’s effort to further develop pro golf in the country. PGTI also supports the Filipino golfers through exposure in regional and international tournaments.
The Solaire Open will host the next leg on April 11-14 at Wack Wack, with the rich event held in conjunction with the grand opening of the Solaire Resort and Hotel at Entertainment City in Manila. It also serves as a leg on the Asian Tour.
Baguio will stage the third leg on April 24-27 for the ICTSI Camp John Hay Championship, now a four-day tournament, before action shifts to Batangas for the ICTSI Calatagan Challenge, a 54-hole event, on May 8-10.
The rest of the schedule: ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship (May 22-25), The Duel (North vs South) at Alabang (June 5-7), ICTSI Rancho Palos Verdes Classic (June 25-28), ICTSI Del Monte Championship (July 2-5), ICTSI Pueblo de Oro Championship (July 10-12), ADT Aboitiz Invitational in Cebu (July 24-27), ICTSI Classic at Mt. Malarayat (July 31-Aug. 3), ICTSI Tagaytay Midlands Challenge (Aug. 28-30), ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship (Sept. 4-7), ICTSI Splendido Classic (Oct. 9-11), ICTSI Riviera Classic (Oct. 16-19), ICSI Canlubang Golf Invitational (Nov. 13-15) and the ICTSI Wack Wack Championship (Nov. 20-23).(pr)