Hong seeks 2nd ICTSI title at Ranchos
MANILA, Philippines - Charles Hong hopes to keep the momentum of his breakthrough win at Pueblo de Oro as he goes for another against a field he bested in Cagayan de Oro last week in the P1 million ICTSI Ranchos Palos Verdes Classic firing off Wednesday in Davao City.
The par-72 layout has been spruced up to championship condition in time for its first hosting of an ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour leg with Hong now emerging the player to watch following his Pueblo win and with the tour’s big guns still on the Asian Tour.
While the pressure to nail a first win now off on the young sophomore pro, Hong opted to downplay his chances to score the first back-to-back victory in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“Right now, I don’t feel pressured,” said Hong. “But it’s a different tournament altogether so I’ll just treat it like the one last week.”
Hong came from behind to capture the ICTSI Pueblo de Oro title, closing out with a seven-under 65 then coming up with a routine par to edge veteran campaigner Richard Sinfuego on the first playoff hole.
The win pushed Hong from No. 13 to No. 9 in the Order of Merit ranking with the 24-year-old shotmaker hoping to go up further the ranking with another solid finish in Davao and in the last three legs of the 15-stage circuit sponsored by ICTSI.
But expect Sinfuego and the rest of the field to likewise bounce back strong, guaranteeing another tight finish in the 54-hole tournament on a course which offers a different kind of challenge with its rolling fairways and unpredictable putting surface.
Also tipped to contend for the top P200,000 purse are Rufino Bayron, Christopher delos Santos, Orlan Sumcad, Zanie Boy Gialon, Marvin Dumandan, Mhark Fernando, Ebarra Quiachon and Rey Pagunsan.
The other backers of the event were Empire Golf, Titleist, Footjoy, Callaway, TaylorMade, Mizuno, Srixon, Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp with Balls, Studio 23,Pinoygolfer.com and Inquirer Golf as media partners.