The Ladies Philippine Golf Tour launches its new season on Wednesday (Jan. 3) with a stellar field headed by the cream of the country’s pro crop and a number of Thailand aces bracing for a spirited battle for top honors in the ICTSI Ayala Greenfield Ladies Challenge in Calamba, Laguna.
Symetra Tour campaigners Dottie Ardina, Cyna Rodriguez and Princess Superal hope to come out strong coming off a failed bid at South Forbes two weeks ago which the Thais dominated via a 1-2 finish to sweep the last two legs of the 2017 LPGT season.
But the locals are all primed to open the sixth season of the country’s premier ladies circuit sponsored by ICTSI on a winning note with last year’s LPGT Order of Merit winner Pauline del Rosario also raring to rebound from a mediocre showing at South Forbes.
Del Rosario racked up four victories in her rookie campaign in the record 11-leg circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. but struggled with poor health and form in the last tournament, ending up 10th.
But the 19-year-old rising star is expected to have recovered, ready to slug it out with her fellow fancied Filipinas and a slew of Thais out to extend their domination of the tour backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.
They include former LPGT leg winners Saruttaya Ngam-usawan and Wannasiri Sirisampant with Chonlada Chayanun also eyeing her first win after turning in back-to-back runner-up finishes in the Philippine Ladies Masters and South Forbes.
Others in the Thai fold are Numa Gulyanamitta, Pakpring Duangchan, Chitawadee Duangchan, Hathaikarn Wongwaikijphaisal, Jaruporn P Na Ayuttaya, Ploychompoo Wilairungrueng, Punpaka Phuntumabamrung, Saraporn Chamchoi, Sarinee Thitiratanakorn, Supakchaya Pattaranakrueng, Thanuttra Boonraksasat and Tiranan Yoopan.
Meanwhile, Ayala Greenfield has been spruced up in time for its first hosting of an LPGT tournament with the par-72 layout expected to provide a different kind of challenge for the competing field especially in the presence of the wind.
Others vying in the 54-hole championship are former leg champions Chihiro Ikeda and Sarah Ababa along with Anya Tanpinco, Apple Fudolin, last year’s Luisita stage champion Euna Koh of Korea and South African Madeleen Grosskoph.(pr)