…PGTI cancels events due to COVID-19

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    THE Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., organizer of the country’s premier three-category pro circuit, yesterday announced the suspension of all tournaments in the Philippine Golf Tour, the PGT Asia and Ladies PGT over growing concerns related to the coronavirus outbreak that has now affected over 120,000 people worldwide with 4,634 confirmed deaths.

    Close to 70,000 have recovered from the virus, which the World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday declared as pandemic.

    “The past few days have seen significant development relating to the spread of COVID-19 in the country. Due to the confirmation of localized transmission and the possibility of community transmission, the Department of Health has raised the COVID-19 Alert System to Code Red, Sublevel 1 as a ‘preemptive call’ to ensure that national and local governments and public and private healthcare providers can prepare for possible increase in suspected and confirmed cases.

    “Given this, the management of PGTI has approved the cancellation of all tournaments until further notice effective March 16, 2020. Please understand that nothing is of greater importance than to maintain the safety and security of our professional golfers, officials and staff,” said PGT executive director Narlene A. Soriano.

    She added that the PGTI is monitoring the situation closely and will use the break to determine the next steps for moving forward with regard to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The PGT Asia is scheduled to hold its last two spillover tournaments from the 2019 season at Riviera and Manila Southwoods on March 17-20 and March 31-April 3, respectively, with the Q-School for the region’s emerging circuit’s fourth season set on April 22-25 at Luisita.

    The PGT finished holding the third round of the four-day Q-School at Splendido yesterday with the first leg supposed to start on March 25-28 at Summit Point simultaneous with the LPGT.

    Arnold Villacencio shot a 68 while former national champion Lloyd Go fired a 69 as they shared the lead at 213 after three rounds of the PGT Q-School. Anthony Fernando carded a 73 for third at 217 while Tonton Asistio battled back with a 70 to tie Dino Villanueva (71), Robert Pactolerin (72) and Boni Salahog (74) at 218 in the local elims where the top 30 will gain Category 6 status in this year’s PGT starting fields. The rest will be included in Category 9.

    CJ Lee of the US moved closer to clinching the low medal honors in the foreign Q-School with a 213 after a 72, five shots ahead of Aussie William Bruyeres and Japanese Gen Nagai, who both carded 73s. The top 12 after 72 holes will gain Category 7 slots with the rest to be included in Category 9 in the 2020 PGT starting rosters.

    CJ Lee of the US, meanwhile, moved closer to clinching the low medal honors in the foreign Q-School with a 213 after a 72, five shots ahead of Aussie William Bruyeres and Japanese Gen Nagai, who both carded 73s. The top 12 after 72 holes will gain Category 7 slots with the rest to be included in Category 9 in the 2020 PGT starting rosters.