The ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour gets a big shot in the arm as it hosts a leg of the Taiwan LPGA – the ICTSI Ladies Open at Southlinks Golf Club in Las Pinas on March 11-13 with a whopping total prize fund of $75,000 (P3.3 million) at stake.
The 54-hole tournament, presented by Champion Infinity, will serve as the fourth stage of the 20-leg Taiwan LPGA and will feature a slew of foreign players from Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Korea and the United States.
This also marks the first time that the long-running Taiwan LPGA will hold a leg here, further boosting the local ladies pro tour, launched by ICTSI two years ago to provide a circuit for the country’s lady pros and a number of aces from the amateur ranks.
“Hosting a leg on the Taiwan LPGA speaks well of the LPGT repute as one of the rising circuits in the region,” said Colo Ventosa, general manager of the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“The upcoming tournament will not only boost local pro golf in terms of foreign participation but will also be a showcase of talents and skills of our local players,” she added.
Dottie Ardina and Mia Piccio have opted to take a break from the Symetra Tour in the US to spearhead the locals’ challenge in the event, sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc., which also serves as the kickoff leg of this year’s ICTSI LPGT.
American Tiffany Tavee, who lost in a playoff to Thai Nontaya Srisawang in the TLPGA’s third leg – the Grand Royal Open – last month, banners the crack foreign field that includes a slew of Taiwanese and Thai aces.
The Thais actually won two of the first three legs with Pornanong Phatlum dominating the Hitachi Ladies Classic last January. And though Srisawang and Phatlum will not be around to go for a second crown, a talent-laden crew will be trying to extend the Thai’s domination of the circuit.
They include Saraporn Chamchoi, Thanuttra Boonraksasat, Sarauttaya Ngam-usawan, Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul and Alisara Wedchakama.
The huge Taiwanese contingent, meanwhile, will be led by Chen Szu-han, Chen I-wen, Yeh Hsin-ning, Lee Hsin, Hung Pei-wen, Liu Ching-ju, Weng Li-ting, Pan Yen-ling, Chou Yi-tsen, Chen Chih-min and Liang Yi-ling.
But the locals are also out to prove their worth with Ardina raring to flaunt her skills and keep her perfect stint on the LPGT. The country’s top pro has won all her three stints on the country’s first-ever pro circuit, backed by Nike, Sharp and Custom Clubmakers.
Cyna Rodriguez, the back-to-back LPGT Order of Merit winner, is also expected to crowd the favorites, along with Jayvie Agojo, Chihiro Ikeda and Piccio.
Thais Amolkan Phalajivin, who broke Rodriguez’s streak and scored a breakthrough win at LPGT Splendido, has also been invited to join the event sponsored by ICTSI along with fellow Thais Supakchaya Pattaranakrueang, Hathaikarn Wongkaikijphaisal, Kurika Jang and Piyathida Ployumsri.
Others invitees are Sarah Henderson of Great Britain, Malaysian Ainil Bakar, Singapore’s Christabel Goh and amateur Jen Goh.