Cebu CC ready for 3rd Aboitiz InvitationalBy Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
CEBU CITY—Two-time defending champion Jay Bayron tested yesterday the Cebu Country Club course a week before it plays host to the Aboitiz Invitational 2012 presented by ICTSI and was impressed by the superb condition of the now par-71 course.
Bayron, who will banner the local players seeing action in the Aboitiz Invitational set Aug. 8-11, joined 17-year-old hotshot Miguel Tabuena and Australian Luke Bleumink in the pro-am practice round held before attending a press conference at noon that launched the event.
“The course is in better shape this year but the winds are strong today,’’ said the 38-year-old Bayron. “I believe that God will give it to me once more. I am confident playing next week.’’
Bayron carded a 2-over-par 73, the same score as Bleumink while Tabuena sizzled with 68 amid blustery conditions.
“The course is a lot better this year,’’ said Tabuena. “Last year, the greens were really hard. Now the greens are much softer and in better shape.’’
Philippine Golf Tournaments Inc. (PGTI) general manager Colo Ventosa said the top 50 players in the Philippine Order of Merit are expected to compete in the first of two local tournaments included in the Asian Development Tour which is a step lower than the Asian Tour.
“We have more foreign players this year but top Filipino players are also competing,’’ said Ventosa. Among the big names she mentioned as playing are Antonio Lascuña, Mars Pucay and Angelo Que.
Aside from Bleumink, who is in his first stint in the country, the foreign charge in the $65,000 tournament will be led by his compatriots Ryan Bulloch and Anthony Choat, and England’s Peter Richardson.
Also attending the press conference were Aboitiz executive Sunsan Valdez, CCC general manager Jeric Hechanova and Asian Tour director for tour operations Jitti Tampraset.
Hechanova said the course is different now compared to last year and predicted that a score of 10-under could eventually win the tournament. He added that the course is now par 71 from par 70 last year as they converted the 7th hole from par 4 to par 5 to decongest traffic.
But while Bayron—who last year won the title with a five under total—agreed with Hechanova, Tabuena said a player should score at least four-under to win it.
“When I enter the tournament I always believe that I can (win). I believe I have skills. I have won two events in the local tour and that help my confidence. I’m optimistic about my chances next week.’’
The organizing PGTI, led by its chair and president Enrique Razon Jr., was instrumental in putting up the Philippine Golf Tour which has become the biggest golfing circuit in Southeast Asia.
“The PGTI has been leading the Philippines in creating and sustaining a vibrant local golfing industry. This August, we are proud to once again present the third annual Aboitiz Invitational, the last PGT Visayan leg for the year and the first of two Philippine legs of the Asian Development Tour,’’ said Razon in a statement.