The locals are coming into the Philippine Ladies Open in full force, all bracing for three days of battle of shotmaking and putting against a slew of foreign bidders who opted to stay put for the 58th staging of the event which gets going Feb. 18 at the posh Manila Golf Club in Forbes Park in Makati City.
The organizing Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines said a number of campaigners from the US, Taiwan, Singapore, and other neighboring countries have backed out due to the COVID-19 outbreak, leaving 68 players to dispute the crown in the country’s premier championship.
Still, bets from Japan, Guam, Australia, Indonesia and three players from the US, led by Kristin Oberiano, who totes an index of 0.1, and one from Singapore signed up for the tournament, all aiming to break the expected domination of the Filipinas in the event sponsored by San Miguel Corp., Diamond Motors, Sunsports, and Eva Air.
SEA Games team gold medalist Abby Arevalo and fellow scratch player Nicole Abelar banner the locals’ campaign with the likes of Eagle Ace Superal, Sophia Blanco, Junia Gabasa, Arnie Taguines, and young Rianne Malixi also tipped to contend for the crown in the tournament backed by Globe, Cherrylume, Courbé and the National Golf Association of the Philippines.
Others in the fold are Sam Dizon, Rhea Langamin, Mafy Singson, Martina Miñoza and Grace Quintanilla along with Japanese Airi Mitsuhashi and Aussies Angela Enqi and Gabrielle Beohm.
Other foreign bets seeing action are Charlotte Huynh, Prescilla Keogh, Dierdre Horan, Gillian Tidey and Susan Lomax from Australia, Cynthia Birch and Suzette Kirchner from the US, Indonesian Rita Horan, Teresita Blair from Guam, Japanese Katsuko Blalock and Wynnie Sim from Singapore.
After Thailand posted an imposing 1-2 finish in the annual event, supported by Copok (Seascape Village), Inquirer Golf, New World Hotel, Pocari, Manila Golf Ladies, Regent Travel, Hyundai, Pascual Lab, Net25, Lake Shore CCY, FHLCI, and Tagaytay Ladies, behind Pimnipa Panthong and Kanyalak Preedasutthjit in the 2015 PLO at Wack Wack, the Filipina aces ruled the next four editions.
Princess Superal reigned in 2016 at Tagaytay Midlands, SEA Games double gold medalist Bianca Pagdanganan scored a record romp in 2017, also at Wack Wack, before Yuka Saso swept the last two at Orchard and Manila Golf Club.