Local pro golf season gets going with tough leg at Apo

Local pro golf season gets going with tough leg at Apo

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 09:54 PM March 11, 2024

Lascuna golf

Antonio Lascuna.—CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Golf Tour season gets off the ground Tuesday with a very stern test awaiting the talented field as the P2.5 million ICTSI Apo Golf Classic tees off in Davao, where the tree-lined course has the tendency to favor a few and punish reckless play.

“If you play it safe, you’ll be alright,” Guido Van Der Valk of The Netherlands said after the pro-am event on Monday as the field got a sampling of Apo Golf’s bending, narrow fairways and tough-to-read greens which have, over time, made the course one of the toughest tests in the land.

“I’ll be using 4-iron off most tees, so less mistakes,” former Philippine Open champion Clyde Mondilla, one of the longest hitters on tour, said. “I just can’t play an attacking game here, the fairways are so narrow and the greens are difficult.”

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But there are those who won’t play it safe simply because there are a handful who know the course like the back of their hands, like Antonio Lascuna, the only four-time Order of Merit winner who learned the game here.

There’s also Jonel Ababa, Jay Bayron and Elmer Salvador.

Even then, Lascuna is not listing himself as a solid favorite despite coming off an impressive conquest of basically the same field at the longer, wind-buffeted Country Club course in Laguna last month where he beat Miguel Tabuena.

“We have a slight edge, yes,” Lascuna said, referring to the innate knowledge of the par-72 layout that he, Bayron, Ababa and Salvador have of the course. “But there are a lot of strong players out here, the young ones. I’m old now so I will just play my game.”

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Apo Golf is long considered to be the hotbed of talent in the country, as anyone who plays well here can play well practically anywhere.

The challenge is that a player needs to be able to hit every shot to conquer the course, and Van der Valk knows this.

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“The main thing about Apo is that all the top golfers in the country come from this golf club and they’re all here. So my chances are quite difficult but will give it a try,” said the two-time The Country Club Invitational champion.

Meanwhile, ex-national team standout Aidric Chan makes his pro debut in the men’s side, while Lois Kaye Go and Mafy Singson start their play-for-pay careers in the ladies event that also gets going Tuesday but will be for over 54 holes.

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Chan topped Qualifying School at South Pacific last week and looms as one of the players to watch.

TAGS: Philippine Golf Tour

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