Juvic returns to ICTSI tour as heavy favoriteBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Juvic Pagunsan, the Japan Open runner-up, adds star power and is the obvious favorite when the Calatagan leg of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour tees off today at the Robert Trent Jones-designed layout.
Ten days after a sorry loss to Kenichi Koboya in Japan, Pagunsan returns to the tour and will be the man to beat in the P1-million event, not only because he will be coming in with sharp form, but because he also knows the layout like the back of his hand.
Pagunsan, during the latter stages of a brilliant amateur career and early years as a pro, made Calatagan as one of his training sites together with Jonel Ababa, Mark Fernando and Jessie Balasabas.
Ababa, Fernando and Balasabas were based there as part of the defunct National Caddies’ Open program of Tommy Manotoc and the defending champion Ababa is also expected to fare well in the hunt for the P200,000 top purse.
Elmer Salvador, a winner of an all-Filipino staging of the Philippine Open, is also one of the men to beat.
Ababa won this event by six strokes last year.
Salvador is another big gun coming off several international stints. But unlike Pagunsan, the stocky, soft-spoken Davao native didn’t have much success in the Asian Tour, with a 29th place finish in the Taiwan Masters recently his best showing.
Young pros Carl Santos-Ocampo and Charles Hong, along with former PH champs Artemio Murakami and Gerald Rosales, are also entered.