Chihiro Ikeda stresses the need for a strong start to stymie Cyna Rodriguez’s drive for another crown and finally score her maiden win on the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour when the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Ladies Invitational fires off Tuesday at Eagle Ridge’s Aoki course in Gen. Trias, Cavite.
“I must really start out strong and shoot better than Cyna. I can’t afford to fall behind her since she’s playing very well, very consistent, She’s tough to beat,” said Ikeda of Rodriquez, who has dominated the last two legs of this year’s circuit and poised to score a third straight this week.
But Ikeda, and the rest of the compact field, will be out to stop Rodriguez with the former SEA Games gold medalist all set to end her long title spell on the circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
She actually led in the opener of the ICTSI Mt. Malarayat leg last month with a one-under 71 but faltered with the a 76 in the second round, enabling Rodriguez to seize control with a 69 enroute to 10-shot romp over Thai Amolkan Phalajivin.
Rodriguez also beat Phalajivin by 11 at ICTSI John Hay last July, making her the prohibitive favorite in the P500,000 event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. although Ikeda and company have vowed to put a stop on the former Philippine Ladies Open champion’s domination of the country’s premier ladies pro tour.
Like Ikeda, Phalajivin is raring to get going and get back at Rodriguez, also hopeful to finally annex her breakthrough win in this fifth leg of the eight-stage circuit backed by Nike, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp.
Jayvie Agojo, who sealed her first win at ICTSI Riviera last June when Rodriguez, who ruled the kickoff leg at Orchard last June, skipped the event to honor a previous commitment to play abroad, is also upbeat of her chances for a second victory although like Ikeda, hopes to come out strong and match Rodriguez’s expected fiery start.
Others tipped to crowd the favorites for the top P100,000 purse in the 54-hole championship are Apple Fudolin, Lovelynn Guioguio, Sarah Jane Ababa, Heidi Chua, Lina de Guzman, Lucy Landicho, Eva Minoza, Jan Punzalan, Tracy Que, Anya Tanpinco, Sylvia Torres and Korean Kwon Seo Yon.
Meanwhile, Tagaytay will host the sixth leg, the ICTSI Splendido Ladies Invitational, on Sept. 24-26 in Tagaytay while Valley Golf Club in Antipolo will stage the penultimate leg on Oct. 14-16 for the ICTSI Valley Golf Ladies Challenge. The tour winds up at Southwoods for the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Ladies Championship on Nov. 26-28.