30 PGT spots at stake for top Filipino amateur, pro golfers

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
30 PGT spots at stake for top Filipino amateur, pro golfers
Aidric Chan

MANILA, Philippines — Aiming for a triumphant leap from the amateur to the professional ranks, former Junior World champion Aidric Chan trekked from Cagayan de Oro to Davao to compete in the Philippine Golf Tour Qualifying School unfolding Tuesday, March 5, at the South Pacific Golf and Leisure Estates.

The stakes are high as 107 contenders, including 34 international aspirants, vie for 30 slots in the 72-hole eliminations.

Chan, no stranger to victory with a notable win in the boys’ centerpiece division in the Junior World in San Diego in 2019, the same year he clinched the pro-am championship with Rey Pagunsan at Splendido, is optimistic about his prospects.

However, the former Arizona Wildcat faces stiff competition from a pool of talented players all eyeing the coveted berths that lead to spots in this year’s PGT, which starts on March 12-15 at the nearby Apo Golf and Country Club.

This year’s Q-School, organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc., marks the first time it is being held in the south, recognized as a breeding ground for golf talents. Despite local players enjoying a potential advantage in terms of familiarity with the course, the par-72 layout promises a challenging test with its lengthy par-4s, menacing bunkers, rough terrain and slick surfaces.

After 36 holes, the Top 60 and ties will advance to the final two rounds with the Top 30 securing Category 6 berths in this year’s PGT circuit. Those falling out the Top 30 will be placed in Category 7.

Fresh from participating in the Interclub tournament in Cagayan de Oro, Chan will be joined by Manila Southwoods teammates Lanz Uy and Ryan Monsalve in the Q-School. Other amateur hopefuls include Timothy Co, Enzo Fregil, Marc Lu, Vince Lusterio, Jr., Reynante Manulat, Tom Marcelo, Raul Miñoza, Edmar Salvador Jr. Niño Soberano, Airon Sorino, Sean Ty, Michael Uy and Luigi Wong.

Leading the roster of local pro players are rising stars Kristoffer Arevalo, Josh Jorge, Leandro Bagtas, Jonas Magcalayo, Ivan Monsalve, Enrico Gallardo, Edward Reyes and Carlos Packing, alongside seasoned campaigners Rufino Bayron, Anthony Fernando, Elmer Saban and Mhark Fernando.

International contenders bring an added layer of competition, including former two-time Q-School topnotcher Toru Nakajima, along with fellow Japanese Ueda Daiki, Koji Inoue, Masashi Kawaguchi, Kei Matsuoka, Tennoshin Ogawa and Daiya Suzuki.

The Korean contingent, led by Minwoo Kim and Tae Soo Kim, features strong competitors like Myungchal Hwang, Mingi Kim, Gyuhyun Lim, Gwon Minwook, Seungchan Park and Min Hyeok Yu, while Australian Peter Stojanovski, Aussie Nathan Park and Thai Saksit Jairak add further international flair to the competition.

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