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Five former champs head PH Open cast.

The 99th staging of the Philippine Open will be the first truly international tournament that will be played at toughened The Country Club, with at least five former champions seeing action on March 2 to 5.

Solaire Resort and Casino is bankrolling the event, which offers a total prize pot of $350,000.

This will be the second professional event that TCC will host after the Don Pocholo Razon Invitational two weeks ago, which was ruled by defending Open champ Miguel Tabuena over Juvic Pagunsan.

Tabuena won with a score of 13-over par as the layout downplayed all the hype surrounding how tough it is now and this Open field will be put to a true test in two weeks.

Only one sub-par round was recorded in the Razon Invitational, a two-under-par 70 by Japan's Toru Nakajima in the first round, as the course played longer than its advertised 7,700-plus yards because of strong winds and unreceptive greens.

It will be another week of survival for the field as anything close to par has a great chance of winning.

Mardan Mamat of Singapore, Australia's Marcus Both and Filipino aces Tabuena, Angelo Que and the ageless Frankie Minoza are the former champions in the field with Minnoza, 57, seeking to win the event a third time.

Minoza triumphed in 1988 and in 2007 and said that he was playing some of his best golf in recent years after trimming down to less than 160 pounds with a training regimen fit for athletes half his age.

'It will all come down to putting,' Minoza told the Inquirer recently. 'The greens will be very hard to read and approach shots must be put in the right places for a decent putt, which you have to make.'

The Open will not be part of the Asian Tour this year, but the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments has attracted a big foreign field that also includes several up-and-coming stars like Gavin Green of Malaysia and big-hitting Aussie Scott Hend.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Feb 20, 2017
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