Battle of survival up as TCC Invit’l tees off

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    STA. ROSA, Laguna. — Two former champions, a reigning Philippine Open titlist, a couple of emerging stars plus the other top 30 finishers in last year’s Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit slug it out in a survival of the fittest in The Country Club Invitational that gets going Wednesday at the TCC course here.

    The select cast vowed to give their 2020 campaign a big boost, the P5 million event being the kickoff leg of the country’s premier circuit, guaranteeing a spirited battle in all four days and another wild, unpredictable finish that has become the norm in what has long been considered as a golfing major for its prize fund, cast and prestige.

    They are in for a tough, exacting week given the Tom Weiskoph-designed layout’s length (7,576 yards), its soft bunkers and sleek surface and the wind that is expected to blow hard and come into play in most holes in all four days.

    “The course is long (for me), especially in the presence of the wind. I shot an 81 in practice and even used my driver for my second shot in one hole,” said Tony Lascuña, who won way back in 2004 and lost by one to Cassius Casas in 2014. “Even with a 3-wood, I can barely reach some of the par-4s, so it’s going to be tough and would require a solid short game to contend.”

    The 2020 PGT season was launched in brief rites Tuesday with TCC board director Joey Camara gracing the event along with the TCC Invitational cast.

    For the first time, the men’s tour will be held on the same day with the ladies, starting with the ICTSI Summit Point Challenge on March 25-28 in Lipa City, Batangas, followed by the Delimondo National Pro-Am on May 13-16 at Splendido and the ICTSI Royal Northwoods Challenge on May 26-29 in San Rafael, Bulacan.

    The PGT Qualifying School for local and foreign players will be held March 10-13, also at Splendido.

    The rest of the schedule for the new season is being finalized amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Also on tap are the last two legs of the 2019 PGT Asia season at Riviera (ICTSI Riviera Challenge) on March 17-20 and the ICTSI Southwoods Classic on March 31-April 3.