Cyna Rodriguez braces for her toughest challenge on the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour as she spearheads the locals’ bid in the $75,000 ICTSI Ladies Open, which unwraps March 11 at Southlinks Golf Club in Las Piñas.
For one, she will be up against a crack international field that includes campaigners on the Taiwan LPGA, the upcoming tournament being the fourth leg of the Taiwan ladies pro circuit. Also in the fold are the leading shotmakers from Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Malaysia, thus making it the biggest gathering of lady pros in the country.
But the Filipina ace remains hopeful of her title chances in the 54-hole tournament presented by Champion Infinity, vowing to dish out the same form that netted her four victories in last year’s eight-leg LPGT circuit – and a second straight Order of Merit crown.
“It’s a new year and a new challenge,” said Rodriguez, the former Philippine Ladies Open champion who has dominated the first two seasons of the country’s first-ever ladies pro tour. “I hope to be able to bring the same level of intensity this year which has been the key to my success.”
But given the depth of the competing field, Rodriguez will need to raise the level of her game as she will be pitted against the likes of Americans Tiffany Tavee and Cristina Corpuz, Thais Saraporn Chamchoi, Thanuttra Boonraksasat, Sarauttaya Ngamusawan, Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul and Alisara Wedchakama and Taiwanese 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.
Yeji Oh, Gu Na-eun, Grace Lee, Hwang Ye-nah and Kang Ji-won make up the Korean contingent in the event backed by by Nike, Sharp and Custom Clubmakers.
The daunting Southlinks Golf Club also poses a big problem for Rodriguez and company with its rolling terrain, pot bunkers, thick roughs and the wind expected to bring out the best – or the worst – from the field.
Thai Amolkan Phalajivin, who broke Rodriguez’s streak and scored a breakthrough win at LPGT Splendido, has also been invited to the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc., 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.
Joining Rodriguez in the local roster are LPGT leg winner Jayvie Agojo, former SEA Games gold medalist Chihiro Ikeda, Lovelynn Guioguio, Sarah Ababa, Eva Minoza, Majorie Pulumbarit, Anya Tanpinco, Lina de Guzman, Heidi Chua, Tracy Que, Lucy Landicho, Jan Punzalan, Apple Fudolin, Sylvia Torres and Heidi Chua.