Coming off a punishing stint at The Country Club, the ladies of the Philippine Golf Tour take on a less-demanding but equally challenging Legends layout as they slug it out in the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Ladies Championship beginning today (Tuesday, March 12) in Carmona, Cavite.
While the heat and the wind will remain a factor, the water hazards and other risks present in the TCC Ladies Invitational are not too much of a concern for the 54-player field this week although they will have to deal with the bunkers that littered on the 6437-yard Jack Nicklaus designed course.
But all have expressed confidence and strong chances for the coveted crown in the P1.5 million tournament serving as the sixth leg of the 2018-19 LPGT following their campaign in the TCC Ladies ruled by world No. 1 Sung Hyun Park of Korea.“
I have a great experience last week and now I’m confident with my game,” said Yupaporn Kawinpakorn, spearhead of a crack Thailand side out to reassert its might in the circuit put up by ICTSI.
The Thais won five of the 11 titles disputed last year with Kawinpakorn winning at Beverly Place and Summit Point. The veteran campaigner also topped the Pradera Verde stop of the new season last December though she struggled with new irons and limped at joint 32nd in the TCC Ladies.
“I’m still trying to make some adjustments with my irons and I got my new coach. But I think I have strong chances (of winning) with the course in great shape and I can play relaxed compared to last week where there were lots of consideration like wind and water,” added Kawinpakorn, who drew local ace Pauline del Rosario and Korean rising star Hwang Min Jeong in the featured flight at 7:20 a.m. on No. 1.
Superal, who had the rare chance of playing alongside Park in the championship flight before ending up fourth, hopes to put in harness the lessons she learned from the world’s best, particularly in handling oneself in pressure-packed situations.
“I saw how she handled her game when under pressure. She kept her composure and rhythm, which I will try to emulate. But I know I still have lots to learn, especially with regards to discipline although I like my chances this week,” said the reigning LPGT Order of Merit champion, who will mix it up with Japanese Ayaka Morimitsu and Thai Chonlada Chayanun ahead of Kawinpakorn’s group.
Del Rosario, who racked up four victories in her rookie LPGT year to emerge the top player in 2017, also expects a strong showing, hinting at putting as the key tovictory in this week’s event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.“If my putting works, I think I have great chances although I would be happy to finish in the Top 5 since I’m still trying to adjust with my new swing,” said Del Rosario, who put up a strong start at TCC but lost her rhythm and wound up tied for 11th.
“Compared to TCC where there was little room for mistakes, one has only to hit itin regulation here at Legends but putting, where the Thais are good at, will be thekey,” said Del Rosario.
Like Kawinpakorn, Superal and Del Rosario, Hwang, who reigned at Splendido last January, is also tipped to contend for the crown along with Lee Jeong Hwa, who won the Philippine Ladies Amateur here at Southwoods and hacked out a pair of victories in the inaugural season of the ICTSI Champion Tour in 2016, andThais Tiranan Yoopan, Narisara Kerdrit, Saraporn Chamchoi and Piyathida Chaiyapan in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Empire Golf and Sports and M.Y. Shokai Technology Inc.
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