In search of the form that launched a successful pro career last year, Harmie Constantino hopes to recall it on a course where she nailed her biggest triumph as an amateur as the ICTSI Mount Malarayat Challenge reels off here today (Wednesday) in Lipa City, Batangas.
Though she has posted two top four finishes in the first three legs of this year’s Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, the former national champion never had the chance to contend for the title at Hallow Ridge and Caliraya but is brimming with confidence heading to this week’s 54-hole championship at Mt. Malarayat’s composite course.
Constantino humbled an international pro field to win here by eight over a Thai rival in 2016. She would dominate the amateur ranks the next four years before joining the big league last year, marking it with victories at Eagle Ridge-Aoki twice in March and November.
But a crack at a third LPGT crown proved elusive for the 21-year-old former national champion, who settled for fourth at Midlands won by Sunshine Baraquiel after her second win, tied for second at Riviera-Couples ruled by Chanelle Avaricio and posted another joint fourth effort at Riviera-Langer topped by Daniella Uy,.
She ended up second again at the close of the 2021 at Midlands where amateur Rianne Malixi upstaged the pros but that runner-up finish proved enough to seal her claim on the coveted Order of the Merit crown.
She, however, made a rather shaky start in the new season, finishing eighth at Luisita, which Malixi also won, tied for third at Hallow Ridge and shared fourth place at Caliraya, which Avaricio swept.
But her familiarity with the Mt. Malarayat layout should put her in good stead in pursuit of a third win although she will have a streaking Avaricio to confront with, along with a slew of others ready and eager to fuel their respective title drive in the P750,000 championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Multi-titled Chihiro Ikeda, for one, is raring to get going after a couple of near-misses while Baraquiel is also out to score a follow-up to her Midlands romp and the likes of Marvi Monsalve, Gretchen Villacencio, Pamela Mariano, Lovelyn Guigouio, Kristine Fleetwood, Eva Miñoza, Lucy Landicho, Sheryl Villacensio, Apple Fudolin and former leg winner Sarah Ababa are all primed up for a shot at the championship.
Focus will also be on amateurs Arnie Taguines and Eagle Ace Superal, along with pro bidders Martina Miñoza and Lesley Icoy, ensuring another fierce, tight battle that has marked the first three tournaments of the new season, two decided by just one stroke and the other via playoff.