JAY Bayron is full of confidence as he chases a record Aboitiz Championship crown but the rest of the 108-player international cast has the same mindset, guaranteeing a feisty start to the $100,000 event at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong City today.
The flat but demanding East layout could spoil whatever blistering launch the elite pros could be aiming at given its toughness that it has maintained since it underwent upgrading works some years back, including its 7,222-yardage, its thick roughs and undulating putting surface.
Bayron and the rest, including a strong 14-player Thai contingent and a crack roster of players from 17 other nations, remain upbeat of a strong start, armed with games toughened by stints in various tournaments here and abroad.
“I believe I could win again at Wack Wack. My ball striking is quite good and I feel good of my chances,” said Bayron, who beat Malaysian Gavin Green by two when the event, organized by Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc., was first held at Wack Wack in 2016.
So confident is the Davao ace he could surpass his winning score of six-under 282 this week in pursuit of a record third championship following his romp in the inaugural staging of the event in its home base in Cebu in 2011.
“I know I can score 8-under or better this week,” said Bayron.
So do the rest of the cast, including Aussie Damien Jordan, who overpowered the field at Orchard last year; and Thais Namchok Tantipokhakul and Wisut Artjanawat, who took two of the first three legs of the third season of the Philippine Golf Tour Asia organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
There are also the likes of Ratchapol Jantavara and Tawan Phongphun, also from Thailand, who finished 1-2 in this year’s PGTA Qualifying Tournament at Luisita, Tarik Can, Sam Gillis, Lexus Keoninh, Charles Lee, Matt Lutz, Brett Munson, Joshua Salah and Sean Talmadge of the US and Aussies Tim Stewart and David Gleeson.