Bayron ready for Aboitiz title defence

In-form Jay Bayron of the Philippines will be the man to beat when he defends his title at the Aboitiz Invitational presented by ICTSI which starts on Wednesday.

Golf News: Jay Bayron

Bayron claimed a thrilling one-shot victory in the previous Asian Development Tour (ADT) stop in Indonesia last month which was an ideal preparation for his defence at the highly impressive Cebu Country Club this week.

The Filipino, currently second on the ADT rankings, will spearhead a strong line-up of local stars who include teen titan Miguel Tabuena, Mars Pucay and Asian Tour champions Angelo Que and Artemio Murakami.

The seventh leg of this season's ADT has attracted a strong international field. Current ADT number one Ryan Bulloch of Australia, third ranked Peter Richardson of England and two other Aussies in the top-five of the rankings, Luke Bleumink and Anthony Choat have also made their way to Cebu.

Among other hopefuls in the tournament include Singaporean duo Lam Zhiqun and Quincy Quek and Scott Barr of Australia.

Bulloch, Richard and Bleumink have already won one title each on the ADT this season and they know that another win will go a long way in helping them secure a top-three finish on the rankings which will earn them cards on the elite Asian Tour in 2013.

However, they will need to overcome a confident Bayron, who triumphed in Cebu by a massive five shots after a masterclass 64 in the final round last year.

Bayron knows another strong showing on home turf will help him attain his goal of a top-three finish on the final Order of Merit.

"I have my own goal of finishing as high as I can on the Order of Merit and I'll need a good result to accomplish that," said Bayron. "Many Filipinos have excelled on the Asian Tour and it motivates me to try my best and earn an Asian Tour card through the ADT.

"I've been playing well recently and I hope I can continue my form. It won't be easy trying to defend my title as there are many talented players but I'll do my best," he added.

The US$65,000 Aboitiz Invitational, which made its debut on the ADT last year, will be the start of a two-leg swing in the Philippines as the players will remain in the country for next week's ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship.

The Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. (PGTI), the organiser of Southeast Asia's largest national golfing circuit, the Philippine Golf Tour (PGT), will sanction the tournaments with the Asian Development Tour.

Richardson, who has recovered from a back injury which prevented him from teeing up in the last two events in Indonesia, is delighted to get back into action especially with so much to play for.

"Every opportunity that I get to play in Asia brings me closer to my dream of playing on the Asian Tour. Everything is so well organised here that I just have to focus on doing my best," he said.

The ADT will offer a minimum of 12 tournaments this season, already an increase of four from last year's schedule. The inaugural year saw five events behind staged.

The rise of the ADT has led to the Board of the Official World Golf Ranking to award world ranking points to all ADT events from 2013 onwards.

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