Riviera Classic unfurls

In Photo: Indonesian Ian Andrew joins the action at Riviera

THE Philippine Golf Tour (PGT) Asia Tour holds its third leg beginning today in Silang in Cavite, with the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) Riviera Classic looming to be a survival of the fittest given the weather condition at the demanding Langer layout of the Riviera Golf and Country Club.

The organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. said the $100,000 championship is pushing through with the par-72 ravine-laced layout still playable despite the incessant rains spawned by Typhoon Maring.

“Despite the rain, the course is still playable, and we’ll push through with the tournament as much as possible then we’ll decide tomorrow [today] if we need to cancel the first round. Then we’ll go on from there,” said Jack Imperial, tournament director of the event sponsored by ICTSI.

“This tournament is for the toughest of them all. The course is difficult, what more with the bad weather,” said Tony Lascuña, out to atone for his final-round foldup at ICTSI Splendido Classic last Sunday.

The many-time champion is actually one of a slew of local aces seeking to rebound from disastrous final-day stints at Splendido, where unheralded Rene Menor came out from nowhere to nail a first-ever championship in record fashion.

Rufino Bayron, who led by four in the third round, skied to an 80 and tumbled to joint 13th with Mars Pucay, who limped with a 76. Clyde Mondilla missed bogeyed the final hole for a 70 and settled for joint fourth.

As the big guns crumbled, Menor sneaked in from six down to force a three-man playoff with a 66, then disposed American John Michael O’Toole on the first sudden hole and outlasted Thai Pasavee Lertvilai on the sixth playoff hole to clinch the victory.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Ian Andrew and Seungjae Maeng of the United States boost this week’s cast that also features those who vied at Splendido, all bracing for severe weather condition at one of the toughest courses in the land.

Andrew slugged it out with Miguel Tabuena and Angelo Que in the PGT Asia Tour kickoff leg at Southwoods last month but faded in the closing holes and settled for third. He skipped last week’s event but looked poised to crowd the local aces for this week’s chase for the top $17,500 purse.

The fourth stop of the region’s newest circuit, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology Inc., will be held from November 15 to 18 at Wack Wack, while Luisita will host the next leg from November 29 to December 2 for the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Open.