Clyde Mondilla is primed for another stab at Philippine Golf Tour glory, so do Tony Lascuña, Angelo Que, Zanieboy Gialon, Guido Van der Valk, Michael Bibat and the come-backing Justin Quiban even as Chanelle Avaricio returns to hunt for a fourth crown in the ladies side of the ICTSI Pradera Verde Championship unfolding Tuesday in Lubao, Pampanga.
The multi-titled Mondilla seeks to close the PGT season the way he opened it in 2020 when the 2019 Philippine Open champion bested four others in the most crowded playoff cast in Tour history to win the PGT Asia crown at Pradera before the circuit took a forced hiatus due to pandemic.
The Del Monte ace still expects to go through a wringer this week, given the depth of the competing field and the wind conditions forecasted at the long, challenging layout for the week, guaranteeing another wild finish to the P2 million championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
But Lascuña, another multiple winner in the ICTSI-backed circuit, is out to snap a run of sorry finishes, including back-to-back runner-up efforts at Eagle Ridge-Aoki and Riviera, while Que hopes to cash in on his length in dealing with the Pradera challenge and ending a long title spell.
Gialon, Van der Valk and Bibat, on the other hand, try to become the only two-leg winner in this year’s edition of the PGT after ruling the Caliraya Springs, Splendido Taal and Eagle Ridge-Aoki legs, respectively, with the two other champions – Miguel Tabuena (Luisita) and Juvic Pagunsan (Riviera) – skipping the final leg.
But a slew of others are going all out to upstage the fancied bets and fuel their respective title drive, including Rupert Zaragosa, one of those who lost to Mondilla in the playoff, Ira Alido, Reymon Jaraula, Jay Bayron, Jhonnel Ababa, Joenard Rates, Orlan Sumcad and Quiban, who is back on the local circuit after stints abroad.
Focus will also be on journeyman Rico Depilo, whose tied for fourth finish at Riviera where he strongly contended in one stretch of the final round should make him one of the players to watch in the next four days with Ivan Monsalve and Sean Ramos heading the young guns’ challenge in the event.
Like the men’s, the Ladies PGT, offering a total prize fund of P1.25 million also braces for a tight, unpredictable finish as Avaricio re-joins the title hunt while making a homecoming of sorts at the well-maintained layout where she reigned in runaway fashion last June before pursuing her LPGA Tour card dream.
The postponement of the LPGA Q-School Stage II to next month also made the former Alabama State star, who also won at Hallow Ridge and Caliraya Springs, available for this week’s battle as she renews rivalry with two-leg winner Chihiro Ikeda, 2021 Highlands champion Sunshine Baraquiel, two-time winner Harmie Constantino, Sarah Ababa, Marvi Monsalve, Gretchen Villacencio, Martina Miñoza and Pamela Mariano, among others.
Spicing up the chase are amateurs Mafy Singson, winner at Splendido Taal last May and Annika Guangko.