With the men’s and women’s fields getting a good look at a course that will host a pro event for the first time, all those fancied to contend for titles have expressed guarded optimism as the ICTSI Caliraya Springs Championships get off the ground on Tuesday in Cavinti, Laguna.

The P2-million, 72-hole men’s event has a loaded field led by Clyde Mondilla and veterans Antonio Lascuña and Frankie Miñoza, with almost everyone in the 60-strong starting list admitting that they don’t have knowledge of the well-manicured, par-72 championship course.

“The first time that I saw it was during the practice round,” Lascuña said in Filipino. “I don’t think we would be attacking the course right away. The first two rounds would surely be seeing most of us trying to feel it in a tournament atmosphere.”

Chanelle Avaricio will be shooting for a second straight win, but unlike two weeks ago where she triumphed on a course she calls home, she is coming in practically blind for the P750,000, 54-hole women’s side of the championship.

“I won’t expect anything because I am not familiar with it (course),” Avaricio said before Monday’s official practice round. “But I have prepared the way I usually prepare for a tournament.”

Miguel Tabuena will not be playing this week because of a prior commitment, installing Mondilla, who finished second to Tabuena at Luisita three weeks ago, as the odds-on favorite.

Princess Superal, who was second to Avaricio at Hallow Ridge, will also be skipping the event. INQ

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