Que joins race as Aboitiz Invit’l unwraps today
(The Philippine Star) - August 4, 2015 - 10:00am

CARMONA, Cavite, Philippines – Angelo Que didn’t let the rare chance to slug it out with the strongest cast ever assembled in years slip as he joins the hunt for top honors and world ranking points in the $100,000 Aboitiz Invitational unfolding today at Manila Southwoods’ Legends course here.

The three-time Asian Tour winner was quoted in Monday’s traditional pro-am that he would skip the tournament proper to take a much-needed rest. But what he said, according to the two-leg winner of this year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour, was he would only take a break yesterday (Tuesday).

“There was a misunderstanding. What I said was I would take a rest today (yesterday),” said Que.

Whatever, the long-hitting shotmaker hopes to start out strong against Kiwi Sean Riordan and Taiwanese Shih Chang Tai in the 7:20 a.m. flight on No. 10 as the 126-player field, featuring the cream of the local crop and the top 10 in the current Asian Development Tour rankings, set out for what looms to be a four-day shootout for the $17,500 purse and points in the race for Olympic berths.

In fact, defending champion Tony Lascuña predicts a 20-under winning total given the depth of the competing field and a course, though spruced up to championship condition and turned into a par-71, that may not be able to withstand the impending assault of the power-hitters.

“An 18-under total might not be enough. I think 20- or more should do it,” said the 45-year-old Lascuña, brimming with confidence following back-to-back victories at ICTSI Apo and ICTSI Classic the last three weeks.

“I got my rhythm back so I believe this will be a great week for me,” said Lascuña, seeking to match Elmer Salvador’s back-to-back title feat in this event put up by Aboitiz Ventures, Inc. and co-sanctioned by ADT and Pilipinas Golf Tournaments.

The reigning three-time PGT OOM winner starts at 7:30 a.m. on No. 1 with Japanese Mitsuhiko Hashizume and Finnish Janne Kaske.

But while Lascuña is upbeat, Salvador is wary of his chances although the reticent shotmaker hopes to polish his long game in time for the event.

 “I have to make it work,” said Salvador, who headed straight to the range after the pro-am to tinker with his driving.

Young Miguel Tabuena also expects to put in a strong start coming off a three-week rest after nailing his second crown in the PGT season at Rancho Palos Verdes with the current OOM leader stressing the need to sustain a fine start all the way to the finish.

“A string of four good rounds is needed in this kind of field,” said Tabuena.

Focus will also be on Juvic Pagunsan, who served notice of his bid by ruling the pro-am with partners Montxu Aboitiz, Suguru Tsuzaki and Tadahiro Miyamoto via countback with a 16-under 55, nipping Michael Bibat and teammates Florene delos Santos, Erwyn Limanog and Richie Santos.

Aussie Jake Stirling and partners Mark Watson, Paolo Gamab and Ian Tambunting placed third with a 56.

Tabuena and Stirling are grouped with Japan’s Masaru Takahashi at 7:10 a.m. on No. 10.

ADT OOM leader Hsieh Chi chien drew local ace Cassius Casas and American James Bowen on No. 1 at 11:40 a.m. while Frankie Minoza, who skipped the pro-am, will start at 12 noon on No. 1 with Thai Wisut Artjanawat and Mars Pucay.

Pagunsan, also out to atone for his lowly joint 15th finish at ICTSI Classic last week, his first local tournament in two-and-a-half years, will play Aussie Matthew Giles and American Brett Munson at 7 a.m. on No. 10.

ABOITIZ INVITATIONAL ABOITIZ VENTURES ACIRC ANGELO QUE ASIAN DEVELOPMENT TOUR ASIAN TOUR ATILDE AUSSIE JAKE STIRLING AUSSIE MATTHEW GILES AND AMERICAN BRETT MUNSON CARMONA CASSIUS CASAS AND AMERICAN JAMES BOWEN LASCU
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