Foreign aces join PGT title hunt

Dutch ace Guido Van der Valk heads a crack seven-man foreign roster out to humble the local aces in the rich kickoff leg of this year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour – the Sherwood Hils Classic – which fires off tomorrow (Wednesday, March 20) at the Sherwood Hills layout in Trece Martirez, Cavite.

Van der Valk flashed top form in dominating the PGT Q-School at Splendido two weeks ago, leading a 1-2-3 finish by the foreign bets in the 72-hole elims to head to this week’s P2.5 million event in top form and oozing with confidence.

He will be joined by No. 3 Toru Nakajima of Japan, Phil Cho, Wooram Suh, Park Jun Song, Micah Shin, Jung Hanmil and Byron Cho as they slug it out with the country’s leading pros for the top P450,000 purse in the four-day championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

Meanwhile, the pros test the wind-ranked layout in today’s (Tuesday) traditional pro-am tournament as they team up with guests and officials of the event’s chief backers, including ICTSI, Sharp, Nike Golf, Callaway, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Mizuno, Cleveland Golf and Foot Joy.

Other supporters of the circuit are Event Captain, Inc., Omnisource Inti’l. TPGAP and media partners Balls, A Round of Golf, Inquirer Golf, Studio 23 and Pinoygolfer.com.

Custom Clubmakers is also putting up P50,000 to the “Custom Clubmakers Player of the Year” for the pro with the most number of wins after the season, which features 17 legs spread over the country’s championship courses.

Frankie Minoza, Jay Bayron, Mars Pucay, Cassius Casas, Artemio Murakami and Miguel Tabuena banner the local field in the event won by Dabawenyo Elmer Salvador the last two years.

Salvador and fellow Asian Tour campaigners, however, will not be around as they are set to compete in the $2.3 million Malaysian Open set to start Thursday.

Still, the Sherwood Hills title hunt is expected to go down-to-the-wire with no player holding a distinct advantage over a tough course that changes in character in every twirl of the wind.

Others in the cast are last year’s leg winners Zanie Boy Gialon, Charles Hong and Carl Santos-Ocampo, Marvin Dumandan, Mhark Fernando, Rufino Bayron, Jun Bernis, Jhonnel Ababa. Michael Bibat, Ferdie Aunzo and former Philippine Open champion Gerald Rosales.(pr)

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