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PGT pros gear up for punishing grind at Langer

While the emphasis is on shotmaking and putting, most pros believe it will also be a question of staying power as they brace for a grueling duel for top honors in the last of two bubble tournaments in the Philippine Golf Tour restart, beginning Tuesday at the Riviera Golf and Country Club in Silang, Cavite.

The par-71 Langer course has been spruced up to championship condition in time for the ICTSI Riviera Championship and unlike in the ICTSI Riviera Invitational Challenge at Couples three weeks ago, the upcoming 72-hole event promises to be a test of will and character given the layout’s length which measures up to more than 7,000 yards and hazards that come into play in most holes.

There are also the terrors lurking on the sleek putting surface to consider and conquer in all four days of the championship held under strict health and safety protocols in new normal.

“Tony (Lascuña) can be beaten. At Langer, it’s more of a question of endurance since it a long course,” said multi-titled Jhonnel Ababa, who struggled with a wrist injury and tied for 19th the first time out, in Filipino.

“But I’m good and I expect to be in the mix this time,” he added.

Lascuña ran away with a four-shot victory over Ira Alido and Rupert Zaragosa at Couples but the seasoned campaigner believes scoring a sweep (of the twin titles) would take a lot of hard work and luck.

“I expect a tougher challenge as Langer is a long course, and there are so many tests to consider and overcome along the way. Every shot counts and one also has to be a sort of lucky to win,” said Lascuña. “Besides, there are just too many strong players ready and raring to win.”

The young Alido, for one, is due for a breakthrough after a number of close stabs at a first victory with the 19-year-old hoping to ride on her closing 69 at Couples that earned him a joint second effort with Zaragosa, whose game many believe suits best at the tight Langer layout.

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“My expectations remain the same before I compete in every tournament – with a mindset that I can win,” said Alido.

But the likes of Miguel Tabuena and Angelo Que are still tipped to bank on their power as they seek to make up for their fourth place and tied for seventh finishes, respectively, at Couples.

Tabuena, who has vastly improved on his length during the long break, is likely to settle down and produce the kind of game expected of him while Que is raring to stamp his class over a field that features Justin Quiban, Fidel Concepcion, Jay Bayron, Michael Bibat, Albin Engino, Rico Depilo, and Dutch Guido Van der Valk.

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