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WHILE the homegrown talents enjoy some kind of an edge on local knowledge, the majority will rely more on the quality of shots than innate skill as the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) Del Monte Championship unwraps Tuesday at the Del Monte Golf Club in Bukidnon
And there could be no other way to mark the resumption of the Philippine Golf Tour (PGT) following a 10-week break than pitting the five winners of the first seven legs in a couple of threesomes that could set the tone for the battle for top honors in the P2.5 million championship.
Ira Alido, who won the kickoff leg in Bacolod, and Clyde Mondilla, winner of the last Tour stop at Forest Hills, slug it out with young Sean Ramos in the 7:20 a.m. flight on No. 1 of Del Monte that puts a premium on accuracy and consistency rather than power given its narrow setup with terrors lurking on every corner of the wooded course.
“I can’t tell if my chances are good but the sure thing is I’ll give my best to play good,” said Mondilla.
A highly-spirited duel also looms in the 7:40 a.m. clash featuring Valley leg champion Reymon Jaraula, Caliraya Springs titlist Tony Lascuña, and Villamor Philippine Masters ruler Jhonnel Ababa even as Iloilo leg runaway winner Rupert Zaragosa mixes it up with Justin Quiban and Guido van der Valk in the 7:30 a.m. group.
Ababa said he is upbeat but wary of his chances to duplicate his two-stroke victory over Jaraula when Del Monte hosted a PGT leg in 2019 before the pandemic, stressing a lot has changed about their respective games although he’s still bringing in the same winning mindset to the 72-hole championship.
The same with the rest of the bidders, including former leg winners Michael Bibat, Zanieboy Gialon, Jerson Balasabas, Jay Bayron, Elmer Salvador, and the comeback Mhark Fernando.
Legend Frankie Miñoza, the sentimental pick this week, is also expected to figure in the title hunt using his knowledge of the course as he trades shots with the power-hitting Marvin Dumandan and young Korean Rho Hyun Ho in the 8:20 a.m. flight, also on the first hole.
But the event, organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by PGTI’s official apparel Kampfortis Golf, could also produce a winner from the group of the young guns, led by Ivan Monsalve, Gab Manotoc, Leandro Bagtas, Josh Jorge, Boni Salahog, Russell Bautista and Jonas Magcalayo, or from the likes of Noel Langgamin, Jelbert Gamolo, Magno Arancon, Jr., Elee Bisera, Albin Engino, Rico Depilo, Gerald Rosales, Enrico Gallardo, Nilo Salahog, Ferdie Aunzo, Korean Kim Minseong, and Japanese Ueda Atsushi.
Meanwhile, the same cast is expected to head to Davao City next week for the last of the two-leg Mindanao swing in the ICTSI South Pacific Classic, which Lascuña dominated, also in 2019, at the South Pacific Golf and Leisure Estates. (Business Mirror)