TAGAYTAY – Princess Superal slugs it out with Thai Soisuwan Onkanok and local aces Claire Amelia Legaspi and Lois Kaye Go while Harmie Constantino faces off Pauline del Rosario, Aisha Nocum and Malaysian Kellie Kan in an early clash of the fancied bets in the 2016 Philippine Ladies Open Golf Championship presented by Champion Infinity firing off today (Wednesday, Jan. 20) at Tagaytay Midlands here.
Superal, the former US Girls’ Juniors champion, hopes to put it all together right in the opening holes – off the tee all the way to the greens – as the top The Country Club bet seeks to build some kind of momentum against 65 other starters, including those from Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, Japan and Australia.
Superal and company tee off at 7:40 a.m. on No. 1 after the 7:30 a.m. group led by Constantino, the reigning national champion tipped to crowd Superal and a slew of foreign aces for the crown in the 54-hole championship organized and conducted by the Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines.
The first two foursomes also hope to cash in on their early start although they remain wary of the wind condition, which is expected to get tougher from mid-morning all the way to the finish.
“The wind has always been the key challenge on this course, so it’s really very important to come up with a good start,” said Superal, seeking to keep the momentum of a five-win run, including the Hong Kong Ladies Amateur Open two weeks ago.
Superal turned in a so-so finish of seventh last year at Wack Wack but her return to form toward the end of 2015 where she racked up four victories abroad and a solid start this year with a runaway victory in Hong Kong has made her the top favorite in this year’s edition of the event backed by Filinvest Alabang, Inc., Metro Pacific, Shell, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Taishan Insurance Brokers, Inc., MEC Networks Corp., Jewelmer, G&W Clubshares, inc., Vermogen and Tagaytay Highlands Ladies Chapter.
But she will be up against a crack field with Constantino also coming off an emphatic victory in the Philippine Amateur Championship at Eagle Ridge last week, Del Rosario seeking to score a follow-up to her Thailand Ladies Amateur Open win late last year, and the Thai campaigners, including Kan Bunnabodee and Atthaya Thitikul, out to extend their domination after compatriot Supamas Sangchan reigned in 2013-14 at Mt. Malarayat and Forest Hills and Pimnipa Panthong won at Wack Wack.
With the Koreans, led by Yang Ju Young, Kim Hee Sun, Sun Ok Park and Soon Hak Jung, Aussie Prescilla Keogh, Ping Carmichael of Hong Kong, Riko Nagai of Japan and siblings Norshahira, Noraishah Che Omar and Kellie Kan of Malaysia all primed up for the event, a furious battle of power, iron play and putting looms in the next three days.
But the field will not only be contending among themselves but also the rolling par-72 layout, kept in championship form all year, which could make or break one’s title bid, especially in the presence of the wind.
Other local bets in the fold are Bernice Ilas, Mikha Fortuna, Kayla Nocum, Felicia Medalla, Sam Martirez, Sofia Chabon and reigning Thailand Junior champion Yuka Saso.