TONY Lascuña, Jay Bayron and Miguel Tabuena brace for an early shootout in the featured flight kicking off the P1.5-million ICTSI Rancho Palos Verdes Classic here today, when the local bets are tipped to slug it out for the crown at Rancho Palos Verdes Golf and Country Club in Davao City.

Though Lascuña, Bayron and a host of other Davaoeño players aren’t as familiar with the make-up of the Palos Verdes layout as that of the Apo course where they honed their talent and skills, they are still expected to crowd for top honors this week given the drive to play good on home turf.

“It would be nice to win again, especially here in Davao,” said Lascuña, who won five legs last year, but remained winless after seven stops of this year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.

“It’s a bit frustrating coming out empty-handed each tournament despite playing solid golf. But with a little luck, I hope to finally start winning again this week,” he said.

But the reigning three-time Order of Merit winner will be facing a crack field beefed by the return of ICTSI Luisita champion Charles Hong and veteran Cassius Casas, another local ace also out to end a year-long spell on the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

Hong skipped last week’s event at Riviera, which was won by Elmer Salvador, also from Davao, to compete in the Asian Development Tour, while Casas, winner of two events last year, was sidelined by a hand injury.

Meanwhile, last year’s ICTSI Royal Northwoods winner Zanieboy Gialon served notice his title bid when he led his team composed of amateurs Mayong Pillerin, Andy Ugduracion and Jaime Tan Jr. to victory in yesterday’s pro-am. (PR)