Tight battle seen as Phl Ladies Open unfolds

Princess Superal beams as she flaunts her biggest triumph in a young career – the US Girls Junior Championship in this file photo.(pr)
Princess Superal beams as she flaunts her biggest triumph in a young career – the US Girls Junior Championship in this file photo.(pr)

The 2015 Champion Infinity Philippine Ladies Open Golf Championship gets going today (Wednesday, Jan. 14) with Princess Superal hoping her explosive finish last year would spill into the new season, a crack Thailand crew seeking to keep the crown for the third straight year and a host of others going all out to spoil the fancied bets’ title drive at Wack Wack’s West Course.

That guarantees a slam-bang action right in the first round of the 54-hole event, which means so much not only for Superal but also for Thais Kanyalak Preedasutthijit, Pimnipa Panthong and Chayanit Wangmahaporn and the likes
For winning 12 titles, including a sweep of the last five tournaments she competed in last year, Superal will be the marked player although the top ICTSI-backed bet has opted to downplay her chances in the country’s premier ladies championship sponsored by Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and organized by Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines.
“I don’t think myself as No. 1,” said the 17-year-old Superal while thumping range balls at varied distances at the Manila Southwoods during practice under coach Bong Lopez and LPGA star Jennifer Rosales yesterday. “My goal is to play well in each event and to compete at the highest level.”
Superal fell short of adding the PLO crown to her SEA Games gold last year when she lost by four to Supamas Sangchan of Thailand, who completed her back-to-back title romp in the annual event supported by Mega Fiber, the Philippine Golf Tour, PacSports and Shell Philippines and C2 as official beverage and Vermogen as official apparel.
But with a run of victories to close out 2014, Superal is eager to start the new season with a win although it will take a lot of hard work to achieve her goal what with a talent-laden field all primed up to foil her title drive.
The Thais, for one, are out to keep their reign in the event with Preedasutthijit looming as Superal’s likely rival owing to her form and confidence following her title romps in the Singha Thailand Amateur Open and the Thailand Junior World Championship last year.
“I hope 2015 will be as good as the previous year. I’ve gotten off the rust and has shed a few pounds after the holiday break. It’s time to buckle down to work,” Superal said.
The country’s ace shotmaker, however, missed going up against any of the Thais in the opener as she drew local bet Claire Legaspi, Korean  Seoyon Kwon and and ICTSI teammate Yuka Saso in the 7:30 a.m. flight with Wangmahaporn paired with Nikki Bruce, Bianca Pagdanganan and 12-year-old Fil-Am Zoe Campos at 7:40 a.m.
But Preedasutthijit is expected to have her hands full in her 7:50 a.m. flight with Pauline del Rosario, Abegail Arevalo and club bet Felicia Medalla while Panthong is grouped with Ashia Nocum, Sofia Chabon and Harmie Constantino in the 8:10 a.m. flight after Sam Martirez, Sam Bruce, Annika Cedo and Hong Kong’s Vivian Lee at 8 a.m.
Others seeing action are Junia Gabasa, Meenah Fong, Diana Araneta, Prescila Keogh, Sophia Blanco, Kayla Nocum, Ju Young Yang, Nicole Aberla, Judy Quek, Denise Seow, Ikuko Kito and young bets Mikaela Arroyo and Monique Arroyo.
The other backers of the event are Duty Free Phils., Edwin Gardiola, MVGS – Martinez, Vergara, Gonzales and Serrano, Atty. Gilberto Duavit, Mec Networks Corp., Manila Golf Ladies, Forest Hills Ladies, Tagaytay Highlands Ladies, Alabang Ladies, Wack Wack Ladies, Spectrum Graphics, Omnisource, Forest Hills Golf and Country Club, Holland Blooms, Malu Gamboa and Jollibee.(pr)

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