Philippine Daily Inquirer


- By Musong R. Castillo @musongINQ

A stacked, foreign-flavored men’s field and undoubtedl­y the best ladies cast assembled in years in the Philippine Golf Tour tee off on Tuesday in the ICTSI Caliraya Springs Championsh­ips with the defending men’s champion, Antonio Lascuña, emphasizin­g the importance of blasting out of the gates hard.

“I think it’s a matter of who gets out to the best start,” Lascuña said in Filipino after playing in the pro-am on Monday. “I prepared hard for the chance to win this in successive years and I just hope I get the job done this week.”

This will be the third stop of the 10-leg circuit, and Guido van der Valk of The Netherland­s, who finished second in the first two legs, believes that no one owns an advantage at the well-manicured layout in Cavinti in Laguna.

“Caliraya is a little bit of a combinatio­n of the two courses we played in Davao,” he said. “I think Caliraya is more of a second shot course, so if I can get my green reading correct, it should be a nice week for me.”

Jonel Ababa, the champion at Apo Golf, is also entered together with the long-hitting Clyde Mondilla and former Philippine Open champion Angelo Que. Collin Wheeler of the United States and South Korea’s Gwon Minwook, who tied for fifth at Apo, lead the foreign challenge Meanwhile, Princess Superal and defending champion Pauline del Rosario make rare appearance­s in the circuit by signing up for the 54-hole ladies championsh­ip.

The trio is on a break from commitment­s overseas and will add star power to the field, with Del Rosario taking fine form here, having finished in the Top 10 of the IOA Golf Classic of the Epson Tour in the United States.

“I’m just trying to bring that confidence and momentum moving forward,” said Del Rosario, who is shooting for a top 15 finish at the end of the Epson season for an LPGA (Ladies Profession­al Golf Associatio­n) card. “If I’m home, I will definitely look forward to playing local events.”

 ?? —CONTRIBUTE­D PHOTO ?? Antonio Lascuña goes for back-toback titles.
—CONTRIBUTE­D PHOTO Antonio Lascuña goes for back-toback titles.

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