THE COUNTRY Club Invitational, regarded as the second major championship in the country next to the Philippine Open, tees off Feb. 7 with a record P5-million pot at the exclusive, windswept layout in Laguna.
The elite field gunning for the P1.5-million winner’s purse is made up of the top 36 players in the last ICTSI season’s Order of Merit and includes Juvic Pagunsan and Angelo Que, who between them have won six editions of the TCC Invitational.
The tournament, put up by golf patron Ricky Razon in honor of his late father Don Pocholo Razon, will also launch the fifth season of the local ICTSI-Philippine Golf Tour.
Also highly rated is the Tour’s reigning Order of Merit winner Antonio Lascuña, who has also won the TCC Invitational and knows what it takes to conquer the winds in the posh layout. He will be coming off the best season of his career—a 12th place finish in the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit and a victory in the Sabah Masters, the Asean Tour’s final leg.
Other big names in the roster include former PH Open winners Cassius Casas, Gerald Rosales, Elmer Salvador, Artemio Murakami, Frankie Miñoza and Jerome Delariarte.
The traditional pro-am kicks off the 72-hole tournament on Feb. 6.
Pagunsan actually foiled Que’s bid to win the tournament a third straight time, winning by four shots over two-time runner-up Salvador.
Others bidders: Zanie Boy Gialon, Miguel Tabuena, Jay Bayron, Elmer Saban, Clyde Mondilla, Charles Hong, Mark Fernando, Rufino Bayron, Mars Pucay, Richard Sinfuego, Carl Santos-Ocampo, Jonel Ababa, Jun Bernis, Randy Garalde, Michael Bibat, Ferdie Aunzo, James Ryan Lam, Orlan Sumcad, Joenard Rates, Benjie Magada, Christopher delos Santos, Arnold Villavicencio, Rey Pagunsan and Anthony Fernando.