PRO golf wraps up its two-tournament bubble swing in new normal beginning Tuesday, Dec. 8 at Riviera’s Langer course with a tight start and a tighter finish seen in both the Philippine Golf Tour and Ladies PGT championships.
Tony Lascuña and Princess Superal exude confidence coming off a pair of emphatic victories in the ICTSI Riviera Invitational Challenge at the adjacent Couples layout three weeks ago.
But the rest of the compact field in both sides likewise do, aware of their fair chances for a stab at glory in the ICTSI Riviera Championship on a tricky, exacting course that has ruined and stymied many a title bid in the past.
Though at least six players, including five in the PGT side, opted to bring in personal caddies under strict health and safety protocols, majority are setting out for the 72-hold event on their own, thus also putting premium on endurance and patience through all four days of the championship.
“Langer is a lot longer and tougher and for as long as my knees hold up, I think I have a chance,” said the multi-titled Lascuña, who will turn 50 on Dec. 26. “There’s a lot of young, strong players but experience-wise, I believe we (veterans) still have the edge.”
Ira Alido and Rupert Zaragosa, who finished tied behind Lascuña the first time out, represent the bumper crop of young turks ready to take over but they will be as much tested this week as the rest of the seasoned campaigners, including Angelo Que, Miguel Tabuena, Jay Bayron, Jhonnel Ababa, Jerson Balasabas, Michael Bibat, and Dutch Guido Van der Valk.
Lloyd Go, who topped the PGT Q-School in 2018, beefs up the rising stars roster with the former national champion tapping sister and SEA Games team gold medalist LK as caddie in pursuit of the top P350,000 purse.
Others playing with bag-toters are Tabuena, with Artemio Murakami; Justin Quiban, with Christopher Popp; Zaragosa with father-coach Boyet; and Korean Lee Sangun with Jessie Tacujan.
Like Lascuña, Superal is bracing for a challenging week with the likes of Abby Arevalo, Pauline del Rosario, Chanelle Avaricio, Daniella Uy, Cyna Rodriguez and Chihiro Ikeda all fired up to foil her and fuel their respective drive for the top P72,000 purse in the 54-hole LPGT championship.
“I’m excited for the chance to go for a sweep,” said Superal, who beat Arevalo by five at Couples.
“I’m ready and I feel good – game-wise and on the mental side. Besides I always give my best shot in every tournament.”
The rest also do – not just for the monetary reward in time for the holidays but also for some kind of an impetus to push them to prepare hard during the break in anticipation of more tournaments in 2021.
This after the supervising Games and Amusements Board, in compliance with the DOH-PSC-GAB Joint Administrative Order, recently endorsed the staging of more pro golf events following the successful holding of the ICTSI Riviera Invitational organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.