Now unburdened by expectations and pressure to deliver a first win, Chanelle Avaricio bursts with confidence as she heads to Langer course, hopeful to make it back-to-back in the ICTSI Riviera Ladies Championship beginning Wednesday (Dec. 1) in Silang, Cavite.
Avaricio ended a two-year title hunt that included a couple of runner-up finishes this year, routing the ICTSI Riviera Ladies Challenge field by seven behind an early birdie and eagle feat in the final round that rallied her from two down to post one of the most lopsided victories on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour the last eight years.
Admitting her seven-shot victory over Harmie Constantino and Chihiro Ikeda last Friday exceeded her expectations, Avaricio hopes to build on her romp as she tries to complete a sweep of the Riviera swing of the ICTSI-sponsored circuit on a tougher, exacting course that puts premium on everything.
“Hope to score more wins,” said the Alabama State U product, who produced great shots and drained long putts to anchor her breakthrough win aided by her rivals’ breakdown in the closing holes.
But she will need to double her effort to score a repeat since Langer remains a daunting challenge and the likes of Constantino, Ikeda, Sunshine Baraquiel, Marvi Monsalve, Daniella Uy, Florence Bisera and Korean Jane Jeong are all coming into the event eager to rebound and prick Avaricio’s growing bubble.
The 54-hole, P750,000 championship will also feature not only another spirited chase for low amateur honors but a fierce battle for the overall crown as well as Mafy Singson and Laurea Duque scale up their respective bids to upstage the pros and become the first amateur to win an LPGT crown in two years.
But Avaricio, along with Constantino, Ikeda, Baraquiel and Uy, won’t have any of that as they go all-out to impose their will over their amateur counterparts, who, however, have so far stepped up and provided the challenge that have brought out the best from the touring ladies in the last few tournaments.
Constantino, for one, is going all-out to atone for her Couples foldup and re-set her drive for a third crown in a prolific rookie season that saw her mark her pro debut with a victory over multi-titled Princess Superal last March. She followed it up with a one-shot escape over Singson early this month, both at Aoki.
Ikeda also believes she’s due for a big finish after back-to-back joint runner-up efforts at Aoki and Highlands while Baraquiel hopes to sustain her steady form despite a fourth place finish at Couples following a breakthrough win at Highlands in windy play.
The same condition is expected at Langer where Baraquiel expects to be in the title hunt while Uy, Monsalve, Bisera and Jeong are geared up for a crack at championship while banking on the premise that no player holds even the slightest of advantage at ravine-laced Langer layout.
The winner this week will also gain the needed momentum for the Tour’s closing tournament in the LPGT’s third restart in bubble setup, the ICTSI Midlands Ladies Classic on Dec. 14-16.