Tony Lascuña shoots for a second straight Philippine Golf Tour victory next week in Tarlac but faces a formidable cast of local and foreign rivals in his title-retention drive in the ICTSI Luisita Championship slated May 3-6 at the Luisita Golf and Country Club.
The veteran Davaoeño shotmaker is brimming with confidence heading to the $60,000 event, which also features a crack roster of international players. Not only did he break the Luisita jinx with a two-stroke victory over Korean Park Jun Hyeok last year but also ruled the last PGT stop at Eastridge last month, also his first at the Binangonan layout.
“I think I’m good and confident heading to Luisita,” said Lascuña, who campaigned in Japan during the month-long break on the local circuit sponsored by ICTSI. “But the field is strong with a number of talented foreign players competing.”
They include Brett Munson of the US, former PGT winner Itthipat Buranatanyarat of Thailand, veteran Indonesian Rory Hie and regular PGT campaigners Nicolas Paez, Jack Jackson and James Bowen of the US, South African Mathiam Keyser, Swede Oskar Arvidsson, Aussie David Gleeson and Jake Shepher of England.
But Lascuña, who racked up five victories to regain the PGT OOM crown last year, isn’t only wary of the visiting crew but also of the local challenge, headed by former Philippine Open champion and OOM winner Miguel Tabuena, former OOM champion Jay Bayron, veteran Frankie Miñoza, Elmer Salvador, Jhonnel Ababa, Cassius Casas, Orlan Sumcad and youngsters Jobim Carlos, Justin Quiban and Ira Alido.
Manila-based Guido Van der Valk of the Netherlands, Korean-American Micah Shin and Japanese Toru Nakajima are also in the fold, completing what promises to be a star-studded cast chasing the top $10,500 purse in the four-day championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. backed by BDO, KZG, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Sharp, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and PLDT.
But the elite field will not only be showcasing their shotmaking and putting skills but will also tackle a tight, hazard-laden course spruced up to championship condition not to mention the extreme heat at this time of the year.
“There are so many factors to win a top-level tournament. From the field, the course and the weather condition. I just hope to be able to endure all these and get another shot at the crown,” said Lascuña.
The Luisita leg, the third stop of this year’s PGT, actually kicks off a four-stage swing for the month with Orchard hosting the next tournament on May 10-13 before Manila Southwoods takes its turn on May 17-20.
The quaint Villamor Golf Club in Pasay will next stage the next PGT event, the revival of the Philippine Masters on May 24-27, capping a busy month-long schedule in this year’s PGT calendar.