After pounding the Manila Southwoods' Legends course with a run of under-par scores, the men of the Asian Development Tour primes up for a demanding, more challenging week at Sherwood Hills Golf Club when the ADT winds up its two-week Philippine swing with ICTSI Sherwood Classic ADT beginning Wednesday.
The par-72 Sherwood layout has been in tip-top shape all year and spruced up to championship condition in time for the event as it hosted the national amateur stroke play championship last week. With the dreaded wind, the hazards that come into play in most holes and the unpredictable greens, expect a grueling battle for the top $10,500 purse in the 11th leg of the ADT sponsored by International Container Terminal Services Inc.
Forty-two players finished under par at Southwoods with Malaysian Gavin Green scoring a stirring victory over Thai Donlaphatchai Niyomchon and Deng Shan Koh of Singapore on a brilliant final round charge.
But Green, 22, won't be around to go for a sweep of the local ADT events as he's set to play on the Asian Tour in Japan also slated this week together with reigning Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit winner Miguel Tabuena.
Still, the Sherwood field remains as deep as ever with American John Michael O'Toole leading the crack foreign challenge, hoping to complete an unfinished business in the 72-hole championship co-organized by ADT and Philippine Golf Tour.
O'Toole set a course record 61 at the par-71 Legends course in the second round, took the lead in the third but faltered in the final day, settling for joint fourth with Thais Pook Saksansin and Pijit Petchkasem. But the 23-year-old winner of the Clearwater Masters in Malaysia last month is raring to redeem himself at Sherwood where he finished third last year, along with a host of local aces eager to make up for forgettable campaigns at Southwoods.
Tabuena emerged the best Filipino at joint 13th but Tony Lascuna, who failed to get going after a mediocre 71 start and finish for joint 30th, has vowed to bounce back strong at Sherwood, also the fourth leg of the local circuit backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Sharp, Summit, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade and Champion.
"I just couldn't putt, couldn't find my rhythm and stroke at Southwoods," said Lascuna. "But I hope to put it all together and contend at Sherwood although the field remains as tough as ever and we'll playing on a demanding course."
Only six players finished with under par scores in last year's staging of the ADT Sherwood event with Thai Itthipat Buranatanyarat nipping Orlan Sumcad by one and two ahead of O'Toole.
Others in the Sherwood fold are Japanese Shunya Takeyasu and Masaru Takahashi, Americans Josh Salah, Jarin Todd and Blake Snyder, Finland's Janne Kaske, Aussies Jake Stirling and Jordan Sherratt, New Zealand's Sean Riordan, Scot James Byrne and Eugene Sim of Singapore.
Joining Lascuna in the local roster are Mars Pucay, Mhark Fernando, Zanieboy Gialon, Keanu Jahns, Rolando Marabe, Jhonnel Ababa, Clyde Mondilla, Jay Bayron, Elmer Salvador and Cassius Casas.