After becoming the first player to repeat as champion on the Asian Development Tour, Davao’s Elmer Salvador tries to set another mark on the feeder circuit to the Asian Tour – scoring back-to-back victories as the elite ADT field heads to the ICTSI Classic beginning Wednesday (July 31) at Mt. Malarayat in Lipa, Batangas
No player has posted back-to-back leg victories since ADT’s inaugural staging in 2010 but Salvador is out to break the jinx with a form honed up and a confidence boosted by his successful title-retention drive in the Aboitiz Invitational last Saturday.
“I’ll try my best but it won’t be easy. The whole field is after me,” said Salvador in Filipino after holding off Angelo Que by one at the Cebu Country Club last Saturday.
The same Aboitiz cast will vie for top honors in the upcoming $60,000 event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. with Salvador expecting a tougher challenge not only from Que but also from the likes of Carl Santos-Ocampo, Miguel Tabuena, Charles Hong, Tony Lascuna and Mars Pucay.
Meanwhile, highlights of the Aboitiz Invitational will be shown at 6 tonight on Studio 23 (Bilis Balita) and at 8:30 p.m. on Gameday with Boom Gonzales on Balls (Channel 34, Sky Cable) and at 9 p.m. on Ibabalita, also on Studio 23.
The four-day ICTSI Classic, which offers a top purse of $10,500 and backed by Nike Golf, Srixon, Custom Clubmakers, Pacsports, Cleveland Golf, Callaway, Ping, Mizuno, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, FootJoy, Titleist, Sharp and BMW, serves as the ninth leg of both the ADT and the ICTSI PGT.
Englishman Ian Keenan, who finished fourth at Aboitiz Invitational, heads the strong foreign challenge that includes Korean teener Park Il-Hwan, Dutch Guido Van der Valk, American Brian Locke, Canadian Lindsay Renolds and Peter Richardson, also of England.
American James Bowen, who won two ADT legs this year, is also raring to redeem himself from a poor 54th-place finish in Cebu while Orlan Sumcad, who closed out with a 66 at Aboitiz, hopes to sustain his new-found form at the wind-raked Mt. Malarayat which he calls home.
“While one has the proverbial momentum, it’s really tough to win back-to-back. There’s an added pressure and one must really stay focused in his game plan to get another crack at the crown,” said Salvador, who has had three straight runner-up finishes on the ICTSI PGT before his Aboitiz win.(pr)