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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Top guns seek strong start as ICTSI Pradera unwraps

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Lubao, Pampanga—The ICTSI Pradera Verde Ladies Classic unfolds today (Wednesday) here with 19 pros all set for a strong start and four amateurs out for another surprise on a course which puts premium on power and putting for its length and sleek surface.

Sunshine Baraquiel

The three-week break after amateur Mafy Singson upended top guns Chanelle Avaricio, Sunshine Baraquiel and Harmie Constantino by one at Splendido Taal has given the pros time to further hone up and polish their respective games that could lead to another frenetic finish the way it was the last time out.

Redemption is more than enough motivation for the three pros although the rest are keen on putting up solid starts to fuel their respective title drive in the 54-hole championship serving as the sixth leg of this year’s Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.

They put premium on driving and putting on a flat, well-kept course that repels anything less than accurate shots.

“I focused on driving and putting during the break and hopefully, correct my mistakes,” said Avaricio, easily the marked player with two victories and a couple of runner-up finishes in the last four tournaments of the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.-organized circuit.

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But Baraquiel, whose bid for a follow-up to her breakthrough win at Tagaytay Highlands last year got stymied by late-hole mishaps at Splendido which she had led in the stretch, is also going flat-out to get another shot at the crown, along with Constantino and multi-titled Chihiro Ikeda.

“If my ball striking clicks, I’ll have a good chance,” said Baraquiel, adding that putting also holds key to one’s title bid at Pradera Verde.

Focus will also be on Constantino, who has served notice of her resurgence from a mini-slump with a third-place effort at Mt. Malarayat and a joint runner-up finish at Splendido, while Ikeda, who foiled Avaricio’s three-peat bid at Mt. Malarayat, is eager and ready to strike back after struggling to joint fifth at Splendido.

Arnie Taguines, meanwhile, and fellow amateurs Eagle Ace Superal, Mariel Tee and Aily Kidwell set out to spring a surprise although they would need to match the pros’ power and class to duplicate absentee Singson’s feat.

Pamela Mariano, Florence Bisera, Gretchen Villacencio and rookies Martina Miñoza, Lesley Icoy and Kristine Fleetwood also exude confidence coming into the P750,000 championship while Marvi Monsalve seeks to finally come up with a strong finishing kick and end a long search for a maiden win.

Korean Jane Jeong also rejoins the hunt in pursuit of a breakthrough along with locals Shery Villasencio, Apple Fudolin, Lucy Landicho, Eva Miñoza, Sarah Ababa, Lovelynn Guioguio and Majorie Pulumbarit.

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