ILOILO – Jobim Carlos hopes to come out better, stronger from a playoff setback to veteran Juvic Pagunsan as he shoots for another crown and tries to zero in on the Order of Merit title in the ICTSI Iloilo Golf Challenge beginning tomorrow (Wednesday, Aug. 22) in Sta. Barbara here.
Carlos, whose game went on an upswing after scoring a breakthrough at Philippine Golf Tour Asia Riviera leg last June, nearly upended the fancied Pagunsan in last Saturday’s ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic finale, losing on the second playoff, a setback many believe will only make the hottest player on the circuit today a lot better, tougher.
“Juvic hits consistent short game shots and that’s I think what I should do,” said Carlos when asked what aspect of the former Asian Tour No. 1’s game had impressed him most during their encounter.
That should make him the marked man in the P3 million event sponsored by ICTSI at the quaint Iloilo Golf and Country Club, which requires accuracy off the tee and a solid short game to buck the challenges lurking from the trees, tall hills, rolling terrains and water hazards that come into play in most holes.
Cassius Cassius reigned when the country’s oldest golf course last hosted a PGT event in 2004 with the now-retired former hotshot edging Elmer Salvador by one on an eight-under 270 aggregate.
This week’s winning total, however, is expected to be a lot lower given the form and condition of the men of the tour, particularly Carlos, who also won at Apo, placed second twice at Pueblo de Oro and Negros, tied for third in Bacolod and shared sixth place at Del Monte. He has piled up earnings of P1,813.750 to lead the OOM race.
But the rest of the competing field are going all out to foil Carlos’ bid, including PGT Asia leg winners Jhonnel Ababa and Jay Bayron, PGT Bacolod leg champion Justin Quiban, reigning Phl Masters winner Jerson Balasabas and PGT Eagle Ridge titlist Guido Van der Valk, running second to Carlos in the OOM derby with P1.039,392 in winnings.
Reigning OOM winner Clyde Mondilla and multi-titled Tony Lascuña are also itching to break a long title spell with only three events left in this year’s circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc, along with Johvanie Abaño, Ira Alido, Ferdie Aunzo, Rufino Bayron, Jun Bernis, Michael Bibat, Marvin Dumandan, Keanu Jahns, Anthony Fernando, Jelbert Gamolo, Mars Pucay, Joenard Rates, Gerald Rosales, Dino Villanueva, Arnold Villacencio and Salvador.
Young Korean Kim Joo Hyung, who beat Carlos to claim the PGT Del Monte crown, is also in the fold, eager to atone for his final round foldup in Negros where he succumbed to pressure in a final round duel with Pagunsan and Carlos and ended up at fifth.
Other foreign aces in the event, backed by BDO, KZG, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Sharp, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and PLDT, are Americans Lexus Keoninh and Pete Vilairatana, Macedonian Peter Stojanovski, Japanese Keisuke Takahashi and Yu Ikeda, Korean Park Jun Sung and Salvador Paya Vila of Spain and sponsor invitees Simon Viitakangas and Damien Jordan of Australia and Venezuelan Rafael Parra.(pr)