A slew of aces from Thailand and Australia head the crack roster of players gearing up for a fierce battle with the top local shotmakers as the Philippine Golf Tour Asia resumes next week at the Pradera Golf and Country Club in Lubao, Pampanga.
Thais Wisut Artjanawat, former PGTA Q-School topnotcher Pasavee Lertvilai, Poosit Supupramai, Thammanoon Sriroj and Namchok Tantiphokakul join last year’s runner-up Andrew Campbell and fellow Aussies Clayton Bridge, Nathan Park and Simon Viitakangas in the early roster of bidders in the $100,000 event which actually serves as the eighth leg of the second season of the newest regional circuit put up by ICTSI.
Americans Sydney Chung, Dylan Jackson, Andy Kang and Lexus Keoninh, Englishmen Benjamin David, Joe Knox and George Twyman, Keisuke Takahashi of Japan, Korean Hwang Myung Chal, Spain’s Salvador Paya Vila, Peter Stojanovski of Macedonia and Manila-based Dutchman Guido Van der Valk are also in the fold, all eager to slug it out with the best of the best for a crack at the top $17,500 purse in the event firing off Jan. 16.
Jhonnel Ababa, who beat Campbell by two here last year to emerge the first PGT Asia back-to-back winner after also ruling the Eagle Ridge Invitational, banners the locals’ challenge in the 72-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Joenard Rates, who nipped Finland’s Janne Kaske on the second extra hole to top the last PGT Asia leg at Summit Point last November, also hopes to figure in the title hunt on a flat but challenging course which puts premier on shotmaking.
Other top locals seeing action are Jay Bayron, Jerson Balasabas, Tony Lascuña and Elmer Salvador and young guns Justin Quiban, James Ryan Lam, Ira Alido and Keanu Jahns.
The event also serves as prelude to two big championships at the tough The Country Club – the TCC Invitational on Jan. 30-Feb. 2 and the 101st Solaire Philippine Open on Feb. 28-March 3.