PGT Asia resumes at E Ridge today

GENERAL TRIAS, Cavite, Philippines — The men of PGT Asia hope to come out strong coming off the holiday break as they resume their hunt for fame and fortune in the $100,000 ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational unfolding today at the Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club’s Aoki course here.

Tony Lascuña, Justin Quiban and Rene Menor try to become the first two-leg winner in the region’s newest circuit put up by ICTSI as they shoot for a follow-up to their victories at Wack Wack, Luisita and Splendido, respectively, in the 72-hole championship, which drew another elite cast, including 36 foreign players out to end the locals’ domination of the tour.

“It will be tough to score another win since everybody toughened up during the break,” said Lascuña, who edged American Nicolas Paez by two at Wack Wack Championship last November.

The veteran campaigner also said premium will be on shotmaking and iron game, adding the Aoki layout, despite its open fairways, remains a tough course to play with its hazards, especially if the wind come into play in all four days.

While Menor will be hard-pressed to duplicate his record playoff win over Thai Pasavee Lertvilai at Splendido last September, Quiban is tipped to come into the event in top form following his three-stroke romp over Joenard Rates in the CAT Open last December.

It was Quiban’s first victory in a young pro career and the 21-year-old shotmaker will surely be going all-out to nail another win in a bid to bolster his chances for the Order of Merit title heading to the last three legs of the inaugural circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

But Lertvilai, along with Americans John Michael O’Toole and Lexus Keoninh, Indonesian Ian Andrew, Natchanon Varapornkittirat, also of Thailand, Park Jung Sung of Korea and Dutch Guido Van der Valk have are also raring and ready to stop the locals’ romp in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc.

Also expected to vie for the top $17,500 purse are Jhonnel Ababa, Jay Bayron, Zanieboy Gialon, Mars Pucay, Orlan Sumcad, Ferdie Aunzo, Marvin Dumandan and Elmer Salvador and young guns Keanu Jahns, Jobim Carlos, Ira Alido and James Ryan Lam.

Other foreign bets in the fold are Indonesians Elki Kow, Clement Kurniawan, Andrew Wirawan and Fajarwin Nuryanto, New Zealand’s Hayden Beard, Americans Paul Harris and Jacob Fleck, Aussies David Gleeson, Dane Mcardle and Andrew Campbell, Singaporean Choo Tze Huang and Koreans Lee Sangun and Lee Jae Won.

Meanwhile, the Pradera Verde course in Lubao, Pampanga will host the seventh leg for the ICTSI Pradera Verde Classic on Jan. 24-27.