Four young guns of varying strength and skills spice up the ICTSI Pradera Verde Ladies Championship cast, all seeking to steal the thunder from the fancied pros when the P750,000 event is fired off tomorrow (Wednesday) in Lubao, Pampanga.
Arnie Taguines, the low amateur at Eagle Ridge-Norman last year, primes up for a series of tournaments in the US, including the Junior World and the FCG Callaway World next month, as she spearheads the crew of Eagle Ace Superal, Mariel Tee, and Aily Kidwell against the likes of Chanelle Avaricio, Sunshine Baraquiel, Harmie Constantino and Chihiro Ikeda.
They are all driven to match Mafy Singson’s stirring triumph at Splendido Taal last month where she upstaged the pros in a backside battle of wits and nerves to nail her first pro victory after at least four failed bids.
Rising star Rianne Malixi set in motion the amateurs’ romp in the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.-backed circuit, humbling multi-titled Princess Superal in a final round shootout to rule the kickoff leg of this year’s Tour at Luisita last March.
But Malixi resumed her campaign abroad and the pros reasserted their might at Hallow Ridge and Caliraya Springs, which Avaricio both ruled, and at Mt. Malarayat that saw Ikeda snap a long title spell before Singson stepped up to reign at Splendido before embarking on her own mission in the US.
But Taguines and company will need more than talent and luck to make it two-in-row for the amateurs with Avaricio all geared up for a crack at a third championship in the ICTSI-sponsored circuit and Baraquiel out to atone for her late foldup at Splendido.
Constantino, who won two tournaments to mark her pro debut last year on her way to clinching the Order of Merit title, has also regained her form after a string of so-so finishes, placing third at Mt. Malarayat and tying for second at Splendido.
Ikeda also brims with confidence despite a tied for fifth effort at Splendido after scoring a three-stroke victory at Mt. Malarayat, the two-week break giving her ample time to get back into fighting form.
A number of pros are also all set for a stab at LPGT glory, including a vastly-improved Pamela Mariano and rookies Martina Miñoza, Lesley Icoy, and Kristine Fleetwood while the likes of Marvi Monsalve, Florence Bisera and Gretchen Villacencio seek to put up three big rounds and contend in the 54-hole championship.
Korean Jane Jeong, who has had a number of strong starts in the circuit, is also in the hunt, hoping to get into early contention again and this time, sustain the momentum for a shot at the crown, along with locals Shery Villasencio, Apple Fudolin, Lucy Landicho, Eva Miñoza, Sarah Ababa, Lovelynn Guioguio and Majorie Pulumbarit.