Top guns back in PGT hunt at Riviera

Juvic Pagunsan

The men of the tour can’t wait to get going after a long break with Clyde Mondilla rejoining the Philippine Golf Tour’s return to Riviera’s daunting Langer course and the likes of Juvic Pagunsan and Angelo Que back in pursuit of the ICTSI Riviera Championship crown.

That should make the Oct. 4-7 championship far-reaching with Michael Bibat, winner of the last PGT leg at Eagle Ridge-Aoki, multi-titled aces Tony Lascuña, Jhonnel Ababa, Jay Bayron and Dutch Guido Van der Valk beefing up the stellar cast in the P2 million event put up by ICTSI.

Ira Alido will also make a return trip to the tougher of the two Riviera courses where he nailed his breakthrough victory in 2020, toughened up by stints on the Asian Development Tour, topped by a tied for 21st finish in the Gurugram Challenge in India last April.

Also in the early roster are John Kier Abdon, Ferdie Aunzo, Rufino Bayron, Jobim Carlos, Fidel Concepcion, Dan Cruz, Rico Depilo, Marvin Dumandan, Paul Echavez, Anthony Fernando, Gerald Rosales, Keanu Jahns, Rene Menor;

Teodoro Osabel, Robert Pactolerin, Mars Pucay, Sean Ramos, Joenard Rates, Rolando Marabe Jr., Kuresh Samanod, Richard Sinfuego, Orlan Sumcad, Joeleo Torrecampo, Arnold Villacencio and Dino Villanueva.

But no player could be as much thrilled to launch his drive than Mondilla, who is out to rebound from a string of setbacks in the first three legs of this year’s circuit. He yielded to Miguel Tabuena in sudden death at Luisita, lost by four to Zanieboy Gialon at Caliraya Springs and blew a third round lead and wound up third at Splendido Taal topped by Van der Valk.

But the 2019 Philippine Open champion will be as much tested as the rest of the field on a risk-and-reward course kept in championship form all-year-long with Pagunsan also looking to recall the form that netted him a runaway victory in stormy conditions in 2019 that capped a run of four victories in a dominant campaign on his way to a second Order of Merit crown.

Pagunsan also made a comeback of sorts at Eagle Ridge last July where he and Que marked their PGT return with tied for fourth finishes with the veteran duo taking another break from the Japan Golf Tour, where they are based, to help stir up play at Riviera.

The Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.-organized circuit winds up its six-leg season on Oct. 25-28 for the ICTSI Pradera Verde Championship at the posh Lubao, Pampanga layout where Mondilla rallied with a closing 67 then beat four others in PGT’s most crowded playoff cast in 2020.