The foreign bets start their chase for 20 berths in the 2014 ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour as the four-day qualifying reels off today at the Aoki course of the Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club in Gen. Trias, Cavite.
Fifteen Koreans head the big roster of hopefuls seeking spots in this year’s bigger, richer circuit with nine Americans also joining the hunt along with those from Australia, Canada, Japan, Sweden and Bangladesh.
To provide a wider base of players and give each one a chance to play in one of Asia’s leading circuits, the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. has put up a two-stage qualifier, including one for local aspirants topped by Joey Huerva last December.
Manila-based Canadian Rick Gibson, coach of ace teener Miguel Tabuena, is also trying to make the grade in the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Others in the fold are Koreas Cho Byung Kyu, Cho Phil Kyu, Kim Chang Hoi, Mun Jae Hyung, Park Jin Young, Nam Ji Soo, Kim Sung Woon, Park Kyoung Chun, Kwak Tae Heon, Kang Dae Man, Kim Hwan Bum, Hyun Jeon Jeong and Jong Choi Eun.
Tony Guerrero and Josh Leppo banner the US contingent that includes Elliott Hume, Daniel Bigelow, Krishna Beach, Honey Boy Pabonita, Tuan Nguyen, Eric Mina, Norman dela Peña and Robert Manalo.
Masaru Imabayashi, Ryoma Miki and Yuto Katsuragawa, meanwhile, also bid for berths, each one trying to duplicate compatriot Toru Nakajima’s title romp in the last leg of last year’s ICTSI PGT, becoming the first foreign player to win on the local circuit,.
Nakajima placed joint second in last year’s combined Q-School for local and foreign aspirants ruled by Dutch Guido Van der Valk.
The top 20 players after the 72-hole tournament will gain cards for the upcoming 2014 season, which will feature a record 18 legs, including four P3.5 million events, firing off in March.