Keen competition is seen as the best local players and a host of foreign aces gear up for what promises to be a shootout in the Philippine Ladies Open Golf Championship 2017, which returns to Wack Wack Golf and Country Club’s West Course beginning Jan. 11.
Princess Superal ended the foreign bets’ domination of the annual event presented by Champion Infinity with a one-stroke victory over Pauline del Rosario and Yuka Saso last year as the visitors struggled in the wind-raked Tagaytay Midlands layout and missed a podium finish after lording it over the local field the past four years.
Korean Lee Jeong Hwa topped the 2012 edition at Southwoods before the Thais swept the last three, including two by Supamas Sangchan in back-to-back fashions at Mt. Malarayat and Forest Hills in 2013-14, respectively. Pimnipa Panthong took the 2015 crown, also at Wack Wack.
But with Superal moving to the pro ranks late last year, Del Rosario and Saso will be leading a strong local challenge in the annual 54-hole championship organized and conducted by Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines and backed by (sponsors), which has drawn the participation of top players from Thailand, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore and the US.
Del Rosario, the spearhead of Team The Country Club, will be coming into the event riding the crest of a three-win romp in Malaysia and Singapore late last year while Saso is brimming with confidence after running away with the individual crown while leading the Philippines to the team championship in the third World Junior Girls in Canada last September. The 16-year-old Saso capped her sterling 2016 campaign with a victory on the local pro circuit at Eagle Ridge.
Other locals tipped to contend for the championship are reigning national champion Harmie Constantino, also a member of that champion World Junior team and a pro leg winner at Mt. Malarayat, Abby Arevalo, Bernice Ilas, Mikha Fortuna and Sofia Chabon of TCC, World Junior team member Sofia Legaspi, Mikaela Arroyo, Sam Bruce, Annyka Cayabyab, Bianca Pagdanganan, Diana Araneta and Felicia Medalla.
Teener Atthaya Thithikul heads a three-player Thailand side that includes Napabhach Boon-In and Tunrada Piddon while Singapore is fielding in a nine-player delegation in the Open category headed by Faldo Series campaigners Denise Wong and Jaqueline Young, and Taiwan will be led by Jennifer Chi Wu, Lili Hsu and Lanfen Hsieh.
Ninety three players have so far confirmed their participation in the event backed by Lexus, Metro Pacific Investments, Cranuti, Texas Eagle, San Miguel Corp., Botanika, Enclave, Taishan Insurance Broker’s Inc. , Inquirer, Cherrylume, Alveo, Manila Golf, G&W Clubshares, Alabang Ladies Golf Chapter, Canlubang Golf Club, Forest Hills Golf Club, Sta. Elena Golf Club, Tagaytay Higlands, Gatorade, Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, Vermogen, Atty. Gilberto Duavit and Water World Trading Inc. For details, call WGAP tournament chairperson Maisa Catindig at (632) 5564298 or email [email protected] or [email protected] (WGAP president Anna Haurie).