Chihiro Ikeda and Jayvie Agojo drew separate flights at the start of the P500,000 ICTSI Riviera Classic at Riviera’s Couples course in Silang, Cavite Wednesday, but are tipped to meet in the final round and clash for the crown just the same.
Both chasing a breakthrough win in the second edition of the country’s first-ever ladies pro circuit, Ikeda and Agojo hope to come up with a strong start for the momentum in the 54-hole championship serving as the second leg of an eight-stage circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
“This should be an interesting week. Everyone has a chance but as for me, I am so hungry for a win,” said Ikeda, the former SEA Games individual champion and one-time Philippine Ladies Open winner who missed a couple of tournaments in last year’s inaugurals of the tour organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
She vied for the crown in the kickoff leg at Orchard last April but wavered in the final round, enabling Agojo to snatch runner-up honors to last year’s Order of Merit winner and absentee Cyna Rodriguez.
But Ikeda primed up for this week’s clash with a rigorous training during the long break, building up her confidence and honing up her game for what could be her first pro victory after a checkered amateur career.
“I’m training more frequently now and I hope it helps,” she said.
Like Ikeda, Agojo and the rest of the compact field expect a fierce battle for the top P100,000 purse in the event backed by Nike, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp. But the field will also have to contend with the wind and the sleek putting surface of Couples layout,
“Yeah, it’s a wide-open race. Who knows? I might pick up my win here,” said former national team mainstay Anya Tanpinco, who will be playing with Agojo and Korean amateur Hwang Min Jeon in 8:10 a.m. group.
Ikeda will slug it out with Apple Fudolin and Lucy Landicho at 7:50 a.m. after Lina de Guzman and Korean Kwon Seo Yon, and Sylia Torres and Jan Punzalan tangle in separate two-player groups at 7:30 a.m. &:40 a.m., respectively.
Former Phl Ladies Open winner Mary Grace Estuesta will tee off at 8 a.m. in the company of Lovelynn Guioguio and Reb Bareng, while Tracy Que, wife of three-time Asian Tour winner and former Phl Open champion Angelo, drew Marjorie Pulumbarit and amateur Ashia Nocum in the 8:20 a.m. flight and Eva Minoza and Sarah Ababa, along with amateur Vanessa Tsutsui, will start at 8:30 a.m.