LIPA CITY—Elmer Salvador opens his bid for another piece of Asean Development Tour (ADT) history today when the $60,000 ICTSI Classic fires off at the composite Mt. Malarayat layout here.
Less than a week after winning the Aboitiz Invitational in Cebu and becoming the first player to repeat as champion, the 43-year-old Salvador has the chance to become the first man in Tour annals to win back-to-back titles, even though the field in this 72-hole championship has gotten a lot stronger.
Nicholas Fung of Malaysia and the reedy Quincy Quek of Singapore were late additions to the tournament that will also see the veteran Frankie Miñoza, fresh off his British Senior Open stint, add fang to the Filipino challenge.
Fung and Quek did not play in the Aboitiz Invitational, but both have won ADT legs this season, with Fung scoring his maiden win at the Templer Park Masters in Kuala Lumpur last month.
Quek knows what it takes to beat Filipinos on their home soil, coming from behind last year to nip Antonio Lascuña for the Orchard Championship.
The 53-year-old Miñoza is actually gunning for a third straight local title after ruling the Del Monte and Pueblo de Oro legs of the ICTSI Tour in Mindanao.
Salvador won the Philippine Open wire-to-wire at Malarayat in 2009, holding off Dutchman Guido Van Der Valk and Angelo Que for the championship.
Incidentally, Que lost by a shot to Salvador at Cebu Country Club.
Reigning ICTSI Tour Order of Merit champion Tony Lascuña and last year’s ADT OOM winner Jay Bayron join Salvador, Que and Miñoza at the head of the local challenge.
Bayron won yesterday’s Pro-Am together with amateurs Jon Capati, Nijay Punzalan and Patrick Capiz with a 54. They beat younger brother Rufino Bayron and partners Bob Lumba, Gabriel Avanceña and Lito Magsino by three.
Nike Golf, Srixon, Custom Clubmakers, Pacsports, Cleveland Golf, Callaway, Ping, Mizuno, Empire Golf and Sports Shop and FootJoy are the event’s major backers.