Philippine Open set December 17-20 at Luisita
(The Philippine Star) - August 30, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Open, the country’s premier golf championship, will be held Dec. 17-20 with Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac hosting Asia’s oldest national Open for the first time.

The event, which used to serve as the kickoff leg of the Asian Tour, faced the specter of being shelved again for the second time in three years with no updates of its staging with the golfing season about to end.

But sources told The STAR that everything is set for the December event, which could also serve as the final leg of this year’s Asian Tour.

Aussie Marcus Both beat six players, including local aces Tony Lascuña and Jay Bayron, by two strokes to rule the Phl Open at Wack Wack last year. There was no Phl Open in 2013. 

The foreign bets dominated the last three Phl Opens with American Berry Henson winning in 2011 and Singapore’s Mardan Mamat reigning in 2012, both at Wack Wack.

But the local top guns are expected to finally strike back this year with the likes of Juvic Pagunsan, Angelo Que, Lascuña, Miguel Tabuena and Jay Bayron leading the challenge, along with Charles Hong, who humbled the cream of the local pro crop by ruling the Luisita Championship of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour last May.

That also marked the return of Luisita to hosting big-time golf after 26 years with new owners, led by Martin Lorenzo, expected to undergo some improvements to keep its mystique and make it more challenging in time for the Philippine Open.

Luisita, the only golf course in the country designed by renowned golf architect Robert Trent Jones Sr., also hosted a leg of the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour last July and will stage the 2015 Central Azucarera de Tarlac Open on Sept. 16-19.

Luisita used to be the home of the President’s Cup, one of local version’s four majors, the others being the Philippine Open (Wack Wack), the Masters (Villamor) and the National PGA (Canlubang).

Frankie Miñoza last won at Luisita during the 1989 President’s Cup, besting a crack international field that included Carlos Espinosa of Mexico and Rick Gibson of Canada.  

ACIRC AMERICAN BERRY HENSON ANGELO QUE ASIAN TOUR ATILDE AUSSIE MARCUS BOTH CARLOS ESPINOSA OF MEXICO AND RICK GIBSON OF CANADA LUISITA PHILIPPINE OPEN PHL OPEN WACK WACK
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