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Solaire Open rolls off today

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ANGELO Que, who won the 2008 Philippine Open over the same challenging Wack Wack East layout, believes that it doesn’t take just a good game to win a tournament over the fabled course.

“With a strong field like this and over a course like the East, you need to have a lot of luck to win,” Que told the Inquirer yesterday, moments after wrapping up his final practice round for the $300,000 Solaire Open that tees off today.

“All parts of your game would have to click on all four days,” Que, who won with a five-under 283 total five years ago, added. “You can’t come to Wack Wack with a part of your game missing. Everything should be working.”

Frankie Miñoza, the legendary 53-year-old who was the Open champion the year before Que struck, predicts that the winds will again play a factor—as in any pro tournament that the traditional layout hosts.

“Every time there’s a pro event here, the winds blow,” Miñoza, the reigning Japan Senior Open champ, said. “I don’t know why. There’s no wind during practice rounds. It seems that someone turns it off and then on for the tournament.”

Another player who has triumphed over a strong international field in this course is Singapore’s Mardan Mamat, whose runaway victory in last year’s Open makes him  a logical choice as one of the players to beat here.

“It’s not all about power here,” the 45-year-old Mamat, who totaled 280 last year, said. “You need to be able to place your shots, otherwise, you’ll get in trouble.”

Wack Wack has always been one of the tougher stops in the Asian Tour, with the dreaded eighth hole, the camel back-shaped par-3, looming large in the minds of most of the participants.

And Mamat, who had a tough birdie in the final round of the Open last year, knows this.

“If you finish four days with a par on the eighth hole, you have a good chance to win the tournament,” Mamat said. “That’s the key hole to move into contention. ”

Tee-off starts at 6:15 a.m on the first and 10th holes. The rest of the field gets going at 11:15 a.m. also on both the first and 10th tees.

Mardan will tee off with Antonio Lascuña, who also won at Wack Wack in the final leg of the local tour last December, at 12 noon on the 10th. Juvic Pagunsan, the 2011 Asian Tour champion still to conquer Wack Wack, will start earlier on the same tee at 11:40 a.m. with Asian Tour standouts Chawalit Plaphol of Thailand and Japan’s Tetsuji Hiratsuka.

Que will be with Australian star Scott Barr in the 6:45 a.m. flight on No. 1.


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