MANILA, Philippines - Juvic Pagunsan, suspended by the local tour organizers last year for misconduct, has refused to pay his fine, giving up his slot instead in the rich The Country Club Invitational set to fire off next week at the posh TCC layout in Laguna.
Pagunsan recently asked the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., organizer of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour and the annual TCC Invitational, if he was invited to play in the elite P5 million event where he is a three-time champion. But when told that he needed to pay the P25,000 fine, the 2011 Asian Tour OOM winner said he would rather not play than pay.
The PGTI sacked the erring Pagunsan last July for pulling out of the final round of The Duel – North vs South, never bothering to explain his uncalled for action. He was also suspended in 2011 for the same offense.
In abandoning the Duel series last June, the PGTI board of directors imposed a penalty of suspension until the end of 2013. The PGTI cited Pagunsan’s frequent violations of the Members Handbook and General Regulations which constitute a material break of the player’s obligations in respect to his participation in the PGTI tournaments.
Pagunsan also pulled out without notice in the first round of the ICTSI Forest Hills Championship and on the second day of the ICTSI Royal Northwoods Championship, both in 2010.
In 2011, Pagunsan walked out of the Aboitiz Invitational presented by ICTSI in Cebu, a leg of the Asian Development Tour, after refusing to abide by the club’s house rules, prompting the PGTI to sack him.
Despite Pagunsan’s absence in the TCC Invitational set Feb. 6-9, the depth of the competing field remains as talent-laden as ever with back-to-back ICTSI PGT Order of Merit winner Tony Lascuña, Angelo Que, Elmer Salvador, Miguel Tabuena, brothers Jay and Rufino Bayron and defending champion Frankie Miñoza all seeing action.
Meanwhile, the traditional 18-hole pro-am event, featuring the leadings pros and ICTSI’s guests from various sectors, will be held on Feb. 5.
Others fancied to contend for the crown are Cassius Casas, Carl Santos-Ocampo, Mhark Fernando, Jhonnel Ababa, Michael Bibat, Mars Pucay, Edward Reyes, Jessie Balasabas, Charles Hong, Gerald Rosales, Elmer Saban, Benjie Magada, Richard Sinfuego Others seeing action at TCC Invitational are Dutch Guido Van der Valk, Marvin Dumandan, Clyde Mondilla, Orlan Sumcad, Rey Pagunsan, Jun Bernis, Tomokazu Yoshinaga, Anthony Fernando, Randy Garalde, Ferdie Aunzo and 2009 champion Artemio Murakami.