Kristin Oberiano gears up for a spirited duel with a slew of local top guns and foreign aces, hopeful but wary of her chances in the Philippine Ladies Open, which will unfold on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at Manila Golf Club in Forbes Park, Makati City.
Born to Filipino parents and raised in Guam, Oberiano won the Nissan Guam Amateur title and topped Guam’s bi-annual World Amateur Golf Ranking Championship late last year, making her one of the players to watch in the 58th staging of the country’s premier championship.
But she will be up against the best and the brightest of local amateur golf, led by SEA Games team gold medalist Abby Arevalo and Rianne Malixi, the hottest among the bumper crop of rising stars who edged Arevalo to claim the National Stroke Play diadem at Rivera last month.
Eagle Ace Superal, holder of a number of low amateur honors in the country’s ladies pro circuit, is likewise tipped to contend for the championship in the 54-hole event organized by the Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines and sponsored by San Miguel Corp., Diamond Motors, Sunsports and Eva Air.
Superal is going all out to duplicate older sister and now Japan Step Up Tour campaigner Princess’ feat in 2016 at Tagaytay Midlands and keep the PLO crown at home for the fifth straight year.
Cebuana Junia Gabasa is also expected to crowd the fancied names, along with Nicole Abelar, Sophia Blanco, Sam Dizon, Arnie Taguines, Mafy Singson and Rhea Langamin, ensuring a fiery duel in all three days of the championship backed 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.
But Oberiano, along with Aussies Charlotte Huynh, Prescilla Keogh, Dierdre Horan, Gillian Tidey and Susan Lomax, Cynthia Birch and Suzette Kirchner from the US, Indonesian Rita Horan, Teresita Blair from Guam, Japanese Katsuko Blalock and Wynnie Sim from Singapore are also all primed up for the event on a well-kept course that puts premium on shotmaking and putting.
The event actually suffered in terms of foreign participation due to the COVID-19 outbreak with a number of campaigners from the US, Taiwan, Singapore and other neighboring countries begging off at the last minute. But WGAP has assured all participants and guests of a safe, smooth staging for the duration of the tournament.