Golf Tour

Mondilla aims for the crown at Luisita

Clyde Mondilla hopes to put it all together back at “home” in pursuit of the elusive win when the Philippine Golf Tour swings to Tarlac for the ICTSI Luisita Championship beginning May 9.

“Sana nga, makabawi na sa Luisita (Hopefully, I can recover at Luisita),” said Mondilla after losing steam in the final round of the ICTSI Caliraya Springs Championship two weeks ago and ending up fifth.

The 2019 Philippine Open champion also put himself in contention in Bacolod last month but was unable to unleash a strong finishing kick that has marked his previous triumphs, the last at Pradera Verde in 2020 where he rallied from way back with a closing 67 then edged four others in a playoff to snatch the PGT Asia crown.

Clyde Mondilla

But back at Luisita, which he also calls home and where he won last in 2018, the Del Monte ace is confident he can make the most of his local knowledge of the Robert Trent Jones, Sr.-designed layout to get back into the winner’s podium.

He also feels as though there is unfinished business at Luisita after yielding the crown to Miguel Tabuena in sudden death last year.

But a slew of seasoned campaigners and rising stars are all primed for a crack at the championship, ensuring another spirited title chase in the P2 million events serving as the fourth leg of this year’s PGT put up by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

Tony Lascuña, for one, is brimming with confidence after snapping a pair of runner-up finishes in Bacolod and Iloilo with a big victory at Caliraya, making him the marked player next week, along with Bacolod leg winner Ira Alido and Rupert Zaragosa, who scored a breakthrough with an imposing triumph in Iloilo.

Dutch Guido van der Valk, the runaway back-to-back The Country Club Invitational winner, is also tipped to contend for the championship given his brand of play that could fit on the tight, water-laced layout.

Others in the hunt are Reymon Jaraula, Michael Bibat, Jhonnel Ababa, Marvin Dumandan, Elmer Salvador, Mars Pucay, and Jay Bayron, and young guns Sean Ramos, Gabby Manotoc and Korean Rho Hyun Ho.

But no one comes into the event with as much confidence as Mondilla, who is using the tournament as part of his buildup for his Asian Development Tour campaign, starting with the Phuket Open on May 25-28 in Thailand.

“I’m really preparing to compete again in the ADT with an eye on earning a shot at an Asian Tour card next year,” said Mondilla.

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