Returning Pagunsan a favorite in Aoki tilt | Inquirer Sports

Returning Pagunsan a favorite in Aoki tilt

/ 05:10 AM July 03, 2022

Juvic Pagunsan —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The ICTSI Eagle Ridge at Aoki Invitational golf tournament just got a tad tougher.

The tournament, which unfolds on Tuesday at the Cavite course, welcomed smooth-swinging Juvic Pagunsan to its roster, heightening the competition for the P2 million championship.

Pagunsan inserted the resumption of the Philippine Golf Tour into his schedule following a runaway victory in a recent pro-am tournament in a rare appearance on the local turf. Pagunsan’s entry adds another favorite to the tournament, which was recently beefed up by the return of three-time Asian Tour champion Angelo Que.

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Que earlier signed up for the 72-hole event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments (PGT). The Aoki tilt will be the fourth leg of this year’s PGT and will be held simultaneously with the 54-hole Ladies PGT championship. Que last saw action in last year’s ICTSI Eagle Ridge Challenge, finishing tied for 11th, also at Aoki, won by Miguel Tabuena.

Pagunsan, the former Asian Tour No. 1, and Que are expected to be front-runners in the tournament and will face stiff competition from the likes of Michael Bibat, Jay Bayron, Tony Lascuña, Reymon Jaraula and Ruperto Zaragosa. Absent in the tournament are Tabuena, the playoff winner in the kickoff leg at Luisita last March, and Clyde Mondilla, runner-up in the first two events.

Japan-based

The Japan Golf Tour-based Pagunsan last teed off in a PGT event in 2019 with a record four straight victories, sweeping the Bacolod, Negros Occidental, Iloilo and Riviera Classic stops in varying fashions.

He then resumed his campaign in Japan after the pandemic but where he has had not much of a success after ending a decade-long title drought in the Mizuno Open last year. He bannered the pro-am tournament at Southwoods last week where he dominated the field by 11 shots.

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Still, the rest of the Eagle Ridge cast believe they have the tools to stop the talented Pagunsan with Jerson Balasabas, Jhonnel Ababa, Fidel Concepcion, Jun Bernis, Marvin Dumandan, Gerald Rosales, Eric Gallardo and Rufino Bayron all geared up along with seasoned campaigners Frankie Miñoza and Robert Pactolerin.

Also in the elite cast is a crack young crew led by Ira Alido, who will be eyeing a follow-up to his breakthrough win at PGT Riviera Championship in 2020. Other young aces include Lloyd Go, Sean Ramos and Ivan Monsalve.

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TAGS: Golf, Juvic Pagunsan

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