Carl Santos-Ocampo hopes to flaunt the form that netted him the ICTSI Midlands crown three weeks ago as he heads the field in the P2.5 million ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship unfolding Wednesday (Sept. 4) at Southwoods’ Legends Course in Carmona, Cavite.
Santos-Ocampo fired back-to-back seven-under 65s to dominate the ICTSI Tagaytay Midlands Challenge, beating Tony Lascuna by six and ending a year-long wait for a follow-up to his breakthrough victory at ICTSI Rancho Palos Verdes last year.
An advocate of change, the ace Fil-Am shotmaker said he has been constantly tinkering his game to find what works, making one wonder what adjustment did he make during the break and how this would boost his bid for another crown against the best in the field.
Lascuna, for one, is out to get back at Santos-Ocampo and at the same time keep his hold of the Order of Merit lead heading to the last five legs of the 15-stage ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour sponsored by International Container Terminals Services, Inc.
The ICTSI Calatagan leg runaway winner wrested the OOM lead from erstwhile holder Miguel Tabuena, pooling earnings of P1,232,332, with the latter dropping to second with P1,191,527. Angelo Que is in third with P1,026,276 winnings but the ICTSI Orchard leg winner has begged off this week to compete in the Euro Masters.
Elmer Salvador, a repeat champion at Aboitiz Invitational in Cebu, is just behind at fourth with P957,776, guaranteeing a spirited battle for the top P450,000 purse in the four-day championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc.
Frankie Minoza, who scored back-to-back victories at ICTSI Del Monte and ICTSI Pueblo de Oro leg, has also signed up for the event, along with this year’s other leg winners Jay Bayron, Michael Bibat and Elmer Salvador.
Meanwhile, the leading pros test the bunker-laden for the last time tomorrow (Tuesday) when they play in the traditional pro-am with guests and officials from the event’s chief backers, including Nike Golf, Srixon, Custom Clubmakers, Pacsports, Cleveland Golf, Callaway, Ping, Mizuno, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, FootJoy, Titleist, Sharp and BMW.
Others joining the title hunt are Jhonnel Ababa, Ferdie Aunzo, Rufino Bayron, Jun Bernis, Cassius Casas, Anthony Fernando, Zanieboy Gialon, Rey Pagunsan, Gerald Rosales and Richard Sinfuego.
After Southwoods, the tour will head back to Tagaytay for the ICTSI Splendido Classic at Splendido Golf Club on Oct. 9-11 before Riviera hosts the 13th stage – the ICTSI Riviera Classic on Oct. 16-19, another P2.5 million event. Canlubang will stage the penultimate leg on Nov. 6-8 for the ICTSI Canlubang Golf Invitational before the circuit winds up again at Wack Wack for the ICTSI Wack Wack Championship on Nov. 20-23, another 72-hole, P2.5 million tournament.(pr)