Local tours get going over testy Marapara
The Marapara layout in Bacolod, a petite, traditional course that remains to be one of the toughest tests in the land, will challenge a stacked men’s and ladies fields that tee off on Wednesday to kick off a busy Philippine Golf Tour season with the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic.
Top guns in the men’s field will give ex-Philippine Team members their baptisms of fire as the Q-School graduates debut over the par-72 layout known for its demanding small greens and narrow, tree-lined fairways even as Cyna Rodriguez makes her return to competitive play in the 54-hole ladies side of the event.
Amateur Rianne Malixi, though, has commanded most of the attention in ladies play as she shoots for a fourth title against the pros.
“It will be all about good driving and accuracy on your approaches,” Guido Van Der Valk, the Dutchman who won the Order of Merit title last year, said after the official practice round as he shoots for a followup victory to his The Country Club romp last month. “You really have to hit good iron shots because of the small greens.”
Former nationals Kristoffer Arevalo, Gab Manotoc and Elee Bisera will be playing for cash for the first time, with Arevalo using this circuit to prime up for his ultimate goal of making it to the US Professional Golfers’ Association before the end of the year.
“I’m excited,” Arevalo said in an earlier interview. “I’m excited to play against some of our tested pros and learning from them. But we promise to bring the heat.”
Van Der Valk will play the first two days in the company of Arevalo and Q-School medal winner Hyun Ho Rho.