The $65,000 Aboitiz Invitational firing off Wednesday (July 24) at the Cebu Country Club will kick off a two-week swing of top-notch golfing action in the country with the ICTSI Classic slated next week at the Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa City, Batangas.
The banner international field slugging it out for top honors in Cebu will all be around when the Mt. Malarayat event makes its debut on the Asian Development Tour, a farm league of the Asian Tour, on July 31-Aug. 3 offering a total prize fund of $60,000.
The Aboitiz Invitational and the ICTSI Classic serve as the seventh and eighth legs of the 12-stage ADT with the burgeoning circuit making stops in Malaysia, Indonesia, Chinese Taipei and the Philippines.
The top three players after the ADT will earn Asian Tour cards next year with Filipino ace Jay Bayron topping last year’s Order of Merit ranking.
Meanwhile, Elmer Salvador braces for a tougher outing this time after romping off with a six-shot victory over fellow Davaoeno Tony Lascuña last year with American James Bowen leading the crack international field in the Aboitiz Invitational backed by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Bowen is coming off fresh from a two-shot victory over Taiwanese Chan Shih-chang in last week’s Jakarta Classic, his second after ruling Sime Darby Harvard Masters in Malaysia last February.
But the Filipino aces, including Angelo Que, Miguel Tabuena and Mars Pucay, are expected to cash in on their local knowledge of the CCC layout now set as a par-72 course.
“The golf course has been changed a little bit. We want it to be more challenging to the players,” said Asian Tour director for Tour Operations Jittisak Tamprasert during last week’s launch of the event supported by Nike Golf, Srixon, Custom Clubmakers, Pacsports, Cleveland Golf, Callaway, Ping, Mizuno, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, FootJoy, Titleist, Sharp and BMW with Balls, Studio 23, Impact and Pinoygolfer.com as media partners.
A total of 126 players are seeing action in the event, including six ADT winners and 76 from the ADT ranking, guaranteeing four days of action-packed battle of shotmaking, iron play and putting.
Meanwhile, after the back-to-back ADT events, which also serve as the eighth and ninth legs, respectively, of the local tour, action in the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour resumes at ICTSI Tagaytay Midlands Challenge on Aug. 14-16 to be followed by the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship on Sept. 4-7, another P2. 5 million event.(pr)