Juvic joins hunt as ICTSI Summit Point unfolds
Juvic Pagunsan is back in hunt for a PGT Asia diadem.
Juvic joins hunt as ICTSI Summit Point unfolds
Dante Navarro (Philstar.com) - October 22, 2019 - 1:59pm

LIPA CITY – Juvic Pagunsan stirs up the chase for a Philippine Golf Tour Asia crown as he firms up the already formidable international cast all set for a shootout in the $100,000 ICTSI Summit Point World 18 Challenge beginning Wednesday at the Summit Point Golf and Country Club here.

The smooth-swinging Negrense made himself available for the closing leg of the third season of Asia’s newest circuit with a short break from the Japan PGA Tour, all primed up to cap a brilliant local campaign he spiked with a record four-title romp on the PGT last June to August.

But he will be as much tested as the rest of the 100-player strong cast that includes three aces gunning for a second crown in the third season of PGT Asia and a mix of players from at least 15 countries seeking to hit paydirt in the circuit put up by ICTSI.

Luisita and Taiwan leg champions Namchok Tantipokhakul and Wisut Artjanawat, both from Thailand, and Tony Lascuña, winner of the other Taiwan event last month, are tipped to crowd Pagunsan for the top $17,500 purse along with local top guns Clyde Mondilla, Jhonnel Ababa, Tony Lascuña, Jay Bayron, Reymon Jaraula, Keanu Jahns, Michael Bibat, James Ryan Lam and defending champion Joenard Rates.

Put in former PGT Asia leg titlist Damien Jordan and David Gleeson, both from Australia, Americans Brett Munson, Joshua Salah and Lexus Keoninh, Dutch Guido Van der Valk and Korean-American Micah Shin, the title chase indeed couldn’t get any fiercer, tighter in the next four days.

While the power hitters have the edge at the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed layout which features replicas of 18 of the world’s most renowned golf holes, the title could be decided on the final putt the way it was last year when Rates battled back from six strokes down in regulation then nipped Finland’s Janne Kaske in sudden death to end a long title spell.

But the diminutive shotmaker will be facing tall odds this time with Pagunsan tipped to recall the form he flaunted in stringing up four straight victories in the Bacolod, Negros, Iloilo and Riviera legs of the PGT last June and August. The smooth-swinging Negrense, who dominated the PGT Asia leg at Riviera last March, also shot a 64 to place joint 12th in the storm-hit Bridgestrone Open in Chiba, Japan two weeks ago.

Tantipokhakul and Artjanawat are also coming into the event confident of their respective chances for cracks at a second PGTA crown, so does Mondilla, fired up by his playoff loss to Aussie Tim Stewart in last week’s ICTSI CAT Open, also of PGTA, at Luisita.

Ababa also hopes to put up a strong start and fuel his bid for a fifth PGT Asia diadem while Lascuña, relieved of the pressure to deliver after posting three straight victories on the PGTA and PGT, is likewise expected to be in the early mix of contenders in the 72-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by PLDT Enterprise, Meralco, BDO and PGT Asia official apparel Pin High.

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