ICTSIAmerican Casey O’toole will take advantage of his recent run of good form when he contend at the US$60,000 ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational which starts on Wednesday.

O’toole, ranked 14th on the current Order of Merit, has notched a total of three top-10s in six starts on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) this season.

The 24-year-old American, who is based in Bangkok, will relish a return to one of his favourite countries when he heads to the Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club to challenge for his maiden title on the burgeoning Tour.

“I love coming to the Philippines. It’s one of my favorite places to visit and play. The courses are great and I have made some good friends here.

“I have been playing solid so far this season but I just didn’t manage to put four good rounds together. Overall, I am happy with my progress and with getting off to a decent start this season. I will take it one week at a time and just play my best every week,” said O’toole, who joined the play-for-pay ranks in 2013.

O’toole will face strong challenges from the home front led by Asian Tour stalwarts Angelo Que and Antonio Lascuna, as well as highly-rated Miguel Tabuena and ADT winners Elmer Salvador and Jay Bayron, who was also the Order of Merit winner in 2012.

Malaysian duo Arie Irawan and Wilson Choo, ranked second and third on the current Order of Merit, Thailand’s Panuwat Muenlek, James Byrne of Scotland and Japanese Masaru Takahashi will also feature in the elite field.

Despite failing to make the grade at the Asian Tour Qualifying School earlier this year, O’toole is thankful for the opportunity to still be able to compete on the ADT, which was inaugurated in 2010 as a gateway to the region’s premier Tour.

“I came to Asia because I didn’t have any status back home and a good friend of mine, Iain steel, also a winner on the ADT, told me I should consider it. I also liked the fact that if I didn’t get my Asian Tour status, I can still play on a Tour that would progress my career if I play well,” added O’toole.

Other notable players include local veterans Frankie Minoza and Cassius Casas, Thailand’s Atthaphon Sriboonkaew, Japanese Mitsuhiko Hashizume and American James Bowen.

The ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational, which is the seventh leg of the schedule, is one of the two tournaments title-sponsored by the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) in the Philippines on the ADT schedule this season.

The ICTSI, which has backed at least one ADT event every year since 2012, will also title-sponsor the US$60,000 ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic slated to tee off at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club from April 22 to 25 next week.

The ADT will reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2016.

With the Olympic Games looming in 2016 where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, players in the region could earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro by earning Official World Golf Ranking points through the Asian Tour and ADT.

For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com

- Advertisement -