CEBU - The top-five players on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit, including defending champion and Filipino favorite Jay Bayron will headline the Aboitiz Invitational presented by ICTSI next week.
Newcomer Ryan Bulloch of Australia, the current leader on the Order of Merit, Peter Richardson of England and Australians Luke Bleumink and Anthony Choat will feature in the $65,000 event staged at the Cebu Country Club from Aug. 8 to 11.
Filipino rising star Miguel Tabuena, who has won twice on the local circuit this year, Artemio Murakami, an Asian Tour winner, Hsu Chia-jen of Chinese Taipei and Jeremiah Kim of Malaysia are also in the field.
Bayron, currently second on the money list, will be the odds on favourite to defend his title after securing his second ADT victory at the Bii Maybank ADT Challenge in Indonesia last month.
He knows a successful title defence will give him an edge in his bid of finishing in the top three of the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season which will reward him with an Asian Tour card for 2013.
"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."
He is fast gaining popularity with his come-from-behind victories as he demonstrated in last year's Aboitiz Invitational presented by ICTSI when he shot a six-under-par 64 on the final round to win by five shots.
"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.