PH Masters returns Wednesday; Casas fave
The Philippine Masters, one of the country’s four majors back in the old days, has commanded excitement and attention not only because it will be played for the first time after 17 years but also because everyone wants to know how a traditional course like Villamor holds up to the pros of today.
With the emergence of better equipment and players who can hit it a mile, Villamor’s tight fairways and undulating greens provide a different challenge to the banner international field as the tree-lined layout basically takes the driver out of play on a lot of holes.
Clyde Mondilla, regarded by his peers as the longest hitter on tour, won the ICTSI Southwoods Championship on Saturday with a 22-under total.
The well-manicured Legends Course in Carmona, Cavite, was also at the mercy of the field, many of them going very low.
The Masters was won by the veritable Who’s Who in local golf in the past, with Cassius Casas, also a former Philippine Open winner, technically the event’s defending champion, having won the tournament’s last staging in 2000.
Burly Robert Pactolerin, a multiple winner of the event, is also in the chase for the P360,000 top prize starting Wednesday.
“You need to hit accurate drives or the trees come into play, and that would mean double or even triple bogey,” Pactolerin said. “This is a thinking man’s course. Of course length has its advantages, but not that much at Villamor.”
Course officials, led by GM Col. Oscar Calingasan (ret.), have made sure that Villamor is in top shape for the P2.5 million, 72-hole event with the greens rolling perfectly and the fairways in championship shape.