Though she came home empty-handed from a couple of months’ stints abroad, Sunshine Baraquiel is coming into the ICTSI Valley Golf Ladies Challenge beginning tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Valley Golf Club in Antipolo rich in experience.
“I got so much exposure from competing abroad and playing with many different players,” said Baraquiel, who vied in a number of tournaments in the US, including on the East Coast Women’s Pro Golf Tour where she posted tied for 10th and 12th in Mizuno Cali Q-School Prep Series #1 and #2, respectively, in California.
“Hopefully my learnings from the past months help me play well this week,” added the 30-year-old lady pilot, who soared to her first pro career victory at Tagaytay Highlands last year.
But she struggled in pursuit of a follow-up win, finishing tied for fourth and eighth at Riviera Couples and Langer, respectively, then settling for joint third at Midlands at the close of the 2021 season.
She has had cracks at a second championship this year, including a tied for second at Splendido Taal, but just couldn’t unleash a strong finishing kick to get into the winning act again.
But she remains upbeat of her chances this week, hopeful of hitting her target in the P750,000 tournament put up by ICTSI.
“My goals are the same, I want to be able to shoot my target score and play consistently,” she added.
Emphasis on the tight Valley South course will also be on precision and putting, thus giving no one a distinct advantage on the up-and-down layout with Harmie Constantino also seeking to snap a long spell after a surprise early two LPGT feats at Eagle Ridge Aoki in her rookie season last year.
Like Baraquiel, the former national champion toughened abroad last week although her 30th place effort in the SAT-TWT Open Road to World Ranking in Thailand was something she wouldn’t like to crow about.
Still, the experience of slugging it out with Thailand’s best should give Constantino the boost she needs to go for a third crown in the 54-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
But the other top pros, led by this year’s two-leg winner Chihiro Ikeda along Marvi Monsalve, Sarah Ababa, Gretchen Villacencio, Lovelynn Guioguio, and young guns Martina Miñoza, Kristine Fleetwood, and Pamela Mariano are also primed up for the battle, ensuring another spirited chase in all three days at one of the country’s toughest courses.
The pros, however, will also have to deal with a slew of amateurs out to make another title run in the circuit, led by Rianne Malixi and Mafy Singson, who have won an LPGT leg each this year, who like Baraquiel and Constantino, have also campaigned abroad the last three months.
That should make this week’s battle doubly exciting with amateurs Eagle Ace Superal, Abigail Abarcas, Alethea Gaccion, and Julianna Go also going all-out to nail their first win in the pro circuit and pros Lucy Landicho, Apple Fudolin, Majorie Pulumbarit, and Eva Miñoza out to score a breakthrough.