Sherwood Hills Classic begins; tight battle seen
MANILA, Philippines—With the Tour’s most feared man still grounded by suspension, the ICTSI-Sherwood Hills Classic that tees off Thursday promises to be another down-the-wire affair.
Asian Tour campaigners Elmer Salvador and Antonio Lascuña banner a huge field gunning for the P200,000 winner’s prize in the absence of Juvic Pagunsan, who is serving a suspension meted out by the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
But there are several other men capable of foiling the Asian Tour aces.
Marvin Dumandan will try to win the event for the second straight year, rookie Jonel Ababa will gun for a third victory in four months, and Robert Pactolerin will seek to duplicate his victory here two years ago.
Salvador is coming off a roller-coaster campaign overseas marked by a second-place finish in Singapore and a missed-cut stint in Macau the week after.
Another veteran internationalist, Jay Bayron totes a second-champion-second result going into the tournament.
Ababa’s victories at Sta. Barbara in Iloilo and at the Riviera in Silang, Cavite, came at the expense of Bayron, who bungled commanding final-round leads.
In between those two meltdowns, though, Bayron humbled a far superior field in Cebu by ruling the Aboitiz Invitational of the Asian Development Tour pulling away from American Jonathan Moore.
Scoring is expected to be low with the lift-clean-and-place rule to be used after heavy rains the past two days rendered the well-manicured layout soggy.
Mark Fernando, another crack rookie, meanwhile, ruled the Pro-Am event yesterday together with partners Alex Santos, Luis Oh and Rodel Mangulabnan.
Fernando’s team tallied a net 18-under-par 54 to easily turn back the team of Cassius Casas, which fired a 59.
“It’s my first year on the Asian Tour and I didn’t expect much from myself,” Salvador said after that playoff loss in Singapore worth about P900,000—his biggest ever.
MJ Carr Golf Management, Srixon, Callaway, Unilab, BDO, Titleist, Sharp, Custom Clubmakers, PinoyGolfer.com, Inquirer Golf, Omnisource, A Round of Golf, Studio 23, Balls, and Dynamic Sports are the event’s other backers.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.