Despite a long layoff and the presence of top Thailand players, Sarah Ababa is brimming with confidence as she kicks off her drive for a second straight championship in the ICTSI Luisita Ladies Challenge Wednesday at the Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac.
A four-day build-up on the range and workout on her short game yielded positive results and boosted Ababa’s confidence heading to the start of the 54-hole championship serving as the sixth leg of the eight-stage ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“It’s all range and improving my short game. I didn’t really have the chance to familiarize myself with the course but this is definitely long and the greens are tough to read,” said Ababa, who pounced on Chihiro Ikeda’s backside meltdown to nail her maiden win at LPGT Sherwood last month, in Filipino.
But while Ikeda and fancied Cyna Rodriguez begged off for this week’s event to honor previous commitments abroad, four Thais are entered in the P500,000 tournament, ready to spoil Ababa and the rest of the local bets’ title bid.
Chamchoi Saraporn, for one, sets out to snap a couple of sorry finishes on the circuit as she joins Lina De Guzman and Eva Miñoza in the 7:20 a.m. flight. Chamchoi finished second twice at Splendido and Wack Wack but is confident of her chances this week.
Amolkan Phalajivin, still in search for a follow-up to her breakthrough win at Splendido where she humbled the heavily favored Rodriguez last year, tees off at 7:40 a.m. in the company of Lucy Landicho and Cristina Corpus of the US.
“I’ll just try to focus on my game and on the course and not on individual players, particularly the Thais,” said Ababa, who drew a 7:30 a.m. start with Apple Fudolin and Pattaranakrueang Supakchaya while Jayvie Agojo, also seeking an end to a long title slump, starts at 7:50 a.m. with Lovelynn Guioguio and Satarak Walailak.
From Tarlac, the country’s first-ever ladies pro tour, sponsored by ICTSI and backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp and Champion Infinity, holds its first tournament at Manila Southwoods for the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Ladies Classic on Sept. 2-4 before winding up at Valley Golf Club in Antipolo for the ICTSI Valley Ladies Championship on Sept. 20-Oct. 2.