LIPA City, Batangas – Jay Bayron brims with confidence as he sets out as the marked man in the ICTSI Classic unfolding today at the Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club here, seeking not only to match Tony Lascuña’s three-title romp but also looking to close in on the Order of Merit leader.
“I feel confident. I played the course Monday and it suits my game. I like my chances here,” said Bayron during the traditional pro-am tournament yesterday.
Like what he did in nailing victories in Aboitiz invitational and ICTSI Riviera Classic the last three weeks, Bayron said he would try to cash in on his rivals’ errors while hoping to put together another superb four rounds of play at the wind-raked layout.
He also sees Lascuña, the current OOM leader with four wins, including three straight at Eagle Ridge, Forest Hills and Bacolod, and No. 3 Clyde Mondilla, back-to-back winner at Eastridge and Calatagan, as the biggest stumbling blocks to his three-straight title bid although a host of others are also going all out in pursuit of the top P270,000 purse in the 72-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI.
Each is also out to boost his OOM ranking with four legs left in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by Custom Clubmakers, Adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.
“I expect Lascuña and Mondilla to contend again. But like the last time out, I’ll try to pounce on their mistakes and make the most of my chances,” said Bayron, who exploited Mondilla’s errant drive and second shot on the first playoff to clinch the Riviera crown.
While the field is expected to cancel each other out in terms of long game and iron play, Lascuña sees the title chase to go down to putting.
“Shotmaking won’t be a problem but it will depend on who putts well in the end,” said Lascuña, who currently leads the OOM race with P2.470 million in earnings, around P350,000 ahead of Bayron.
Meanwhile, Bayron drew Jobim Carlos and Dutch Guido Van der Valk in the 8 a.m. flight on No. 10 while Lascuña will start at the front with Mars Pucay and Benjie Magada at 7:55 a.m.