Wild start seen as top pros vie for TCC Invitational crown
STA. ROSA, Laguna— A mad scramble for early control looms as The Nation Club Invitational fires off Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the TCC here with 4 aces looking for strong starts to sustain their particular drive for a 2nd crown and 26 others all primed for a stab at the most desired champion on the Philippine Golf Trip calendar.
Dan Cruz took the last area in the elite cast after three-time champ Juvic Pagunsan stopped working to appear in the other day’s pro-am competition and withdrew from the P6 million champion, leaving the title chase broad open amongst safeguarding champ Guido Van der Valk, 2004 winner Tony Lascuna and Frankie Miñoza and Micah Shin, who ruled here in 2013 and 2018, respectively.
However the depth of the completing field stays as power-packed as ever with Clyde Mondilla, who won the Solaire Philippine Open here in 2019 however lost by one to Van der Valk 3 years earlier, and in 2015’s PGT leg winners Michael Bibat and Zanieboy Gialon getting ready to start together with multi-titled Jhonnel Ababa and Jay Bayron.
Van der Valk, Mondilla and Bibat get to evaluate each other’s strength in the 8:20 a.m. flight on No. 1 with Lascuña, Miñoza and Individual retirement account Alido anchoring the 10 three-man organizing at 8:30 a.m.
Lloyd Go, on the other hand, leads the charge of the young weapons with the 28-year-old shotmaker, who acquired an Asian Trip card by completing No. 6 in in 2015’s Asian Advancement Trip Order of Benefit, due for a huge surface after a near-breakthrough at PGT Eagle Ridge in 2015.
The Cebuano ace drew Shin and Cruz in the 8:10 a.m. group behind the threesome of Gialon, Ababa and Sean Ramos.
Likewise excited to sign up with the elite circle of winners in case set up by ICTSI chairman and CEO Ricky Razon in 2003 and which functions as the kickoff leg of this year’s PGT are Rupert Zaragosa, Enrico Gallardo, Reymon Jaraula, Joenard Rates, Rico Depilo, Orlan Sumcad, Jerson Balasabas, Gerald Rosales, Dino Villanueva, Anthony Fernando, Marvin Dumandan, Fidel Concepcion, Albin Engino, Richard Sinfuego, Art Arbole, Mars Pucay, Paul Echavez and Bayron.
One-shot success have actually marked the last 3 editions of the occasion with now-PGA Trip advocate Tom Kim edging Keanu Jahns in 2019, Shin preventing Miguel Tabuena in 2018, and Tabuena outliving Pagunsan in 2017 with the exact same wild surface anticipated in this week’s fight for record P2 million bag in the 72-hole champion arranged by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
More than power and shotmaking, it will be a test of will and character.