Hunt for Ladies Open crown begins

The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 08 2014 09:42 AM | Updated as of Jan 08 2014 05:42 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The 2014 Champion Infinity Philippine Ladies Open Golf Championship unwraps today with Thai Supamas Sangchan seeking a second straight championship and young aces Sherman Santiwiwattanaphong, also of Thailand, and Filipina Princess Superal bracing for a shootout at the Forest Hills Golf and Country Club in Antipolo, Rizal.

Though last year’s title duel that took six extra holes to finish will be tough to beat in terms of thrill and drama, this week’s title chase, however, is expected to be as fierce with a host of talented local and international players tipped to contend for the coveted crown in the three-day championship presented by Champion Infinity.

Supamas, who fought back from two strokes down to force a playoff then outlasted Dottie Ardina on the sixth playoff hole to snatch last year’s crown at Mt. Malarayat, will be the marked player along with Sherman and Superal, who are both coming into the event oozing with confidence following big victories in pro tournaments in their respective local circuits.

Sherman and Superal beat the pros to capture the Thailand Ladies Open and the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour Camp John Hay crowns, respectively, late last year. The 16-year-old Superal went on to bag the individual gold medal in the SEA Games in Myanmar while powering the Philippines to team championship.

“It will be tough. There are too many talented players in the fold and I must play my A-game to at least contend (for the crown),” said Superal, spearhead of a crack Team ICTSI in the event sponsored by Peerless Products Manufacturing, maker of Champion Infinity, and organized by Women’s Golf Association of the Phils.

With the rolling par-72 layout spruced up to championship form and wind expected to come into play, the title chase could be decided up to the last putt, guaranteeing a fierce three-day battle of shotmaking and wits.

Daniella Uy, 17, Harmie Constantino, 12, and Channel Avaricio, 16, meanwhile, head the bumper crop of young players out to spoil the fancied bets’ bid while US golf scholars Anne Sabater, 19, and Jonah Ilagan, 18, are raring to show their worth in the event which drew a merry mix of 85 players, including 15 Singaporeans, seven Malaysians, five South Koreans, four Thais, two Japanese and one Fil-Austrian in Ester Beatriz Fasol of the International Golfers Club.

The other Thai players are Sukapan Budsabakorn and Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras, Michelle Koh Lay Sia, Diane Luke and Nur Durriyah Bintin Damian banner the Malaysian side while Sock Hwee Koh and Amelia Wei Ping Yong lead the Singapore squad.

The other local shotmakers expected to contend are siblings Sam and Nikki Bruce, Angela de Villa, Claire Legaspi, Sofia Legaspi, Louise Gabasa, Lois Kaye Go, Felicia Medalla, Bianca Pagdanganan, Abegail Arevalo, Sofia Chabon, Pauline del Rosario, Mikhaela Fortuna, Sam Green, Sam Martinez and Bernice Olivarez-Ilas.

The other backers of the annual event are Meralco, Jungolf, Holland Blooms, Duty Free, Nike Golf, Alabang Ladies, Orchard Ladies, Manila Golf Ladies, Canluabng Ladies, Tagaytay Ladies and Forest Hills Ladies Cirle, Other supporters are Dept. of Tourism, Spectrum Graphics and Eastwood Richmonde Hotel, Universal Robina Corp. and C2 and media partners Impact Magazine and Inquirer, and hole-in-one sponsors TIB and Forest Hills.