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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Touring ladies brace for 2-leg Riviera swing

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One year after the first restart following an eight-month hiatus due to pandemic, the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour returns to Riviera for another two-leg swing starting next week with a promise of a tight, fierce title chase that has marked the circuit’s third resumption in Cavite and Tagaytay a couple of weeks back.

Touring ladies brace for 2-leg Riviera swing
Sunshine Baraquiel top-bills the cast in the ICTSI Riviera Ladies Challenge and the ICTSI Riviera Ladies Championship.

Harmie Constantino and Sunshine Baraquiel, who pulled through in scrambling fashions at Eagle Ridge-Aoki and Highlands, respectively, top-bill the cast in the ICTSI Riviera Ladies Challenge on Nov. 24-26 at the Couples course and in the ICTSI Riviera Ladies Championship on Dec. 1-3 at the adjacent Langer layout with a slew of others beefing up the cast that has stepped up its buildup for the two of the last three events the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. has lined up for the touring ladies for the rest of the season.

The circuit will head back to Tagaytay for the ICTSI Midlands Ladies Classic on Dec. 14-16.

Constantino, who marked her pro debut with a victory over multi-titled Princess Superal at Aoki last March, made a triumphant return to one of Eagle Ridge’s four championship courses by outduelling amateur Mafy Singson in the stretch on her way to a one-stroke victory.

But the former national champion, along with the rest of the field, succumbed to Tagaytay Highlands’ harsh challenges although one player stood out in the end of a punishing week to accomplish a personal mission.

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Baraquiel, a lady pilot who decided to pursue a golfing profession than make a career out of flying during the three-month respite, bucked overwhelming odds and endured the tests to emerge a first-time winner at Highlands.

Heading to Riviera, the 30-year-old former Southwoods mainstay in various Interclub championships hopes to build on her morale-boosting breakthrough win but stressed the need to work on her long game in anticipation of another exacting grind both at Couples and Langer.

“There are some things that came out from the pressure,” said Baraquiel, referring to her gutsy stand in the closing holes that turned what had been a wild chase into a three-shot win over Chihiro Ikeda and Daniella Uy.

“I was able to swing the club well and hit my targets. My decision-making was also on point,” she added.

She will need more of the same as she sets out for another stab at an LPGT championship at Riviera, so do the rest of the field, ensuring another spirited charge for top honors in the back-to-back P750,000 events at two of the country’s premier courses.

Ikeda and Uy, in fact, have also propped up their preparations during the break along with Chanelle Avaricio and a bunch of gritty amateurs who have spiced up the title chase in the last two tournaments, led by Mafy Singson, who lost to Constantino by one at Aoki and claimed the low amateur honors for the second straight time with a fifth place effort at Highlands.

But the likes of Laurea Duque, Arnie Taguines, Burberry Zhang, Keena Puzon and Eagle Ace Superal will also be coming into the Riviera events brimming with confidence, toughened up by their Highlands experience held in bubble setup under strict health and safety measures.

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