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Superal, Del Rosario lead the way


Princess Superal set the pace with back-to-back major wins while Pauline del Rosario racked up three victories to close out another solid campaign by Team The Country Club in the year about to end.

The 18-year-old Del Rosario delivered not just one or two but three titles in row to cap a big season for the squad with its compact but intrepid six-player crew racking up 28 victories, including a number of low amateur honors here and abroad.

Superal actually stood at the forefront of the team’s charge like she used to, opening the season with big victories in the Philippine Ladies Open and the Hong Kong Ladies Amateur Championship following a string of triumphs in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore to close out the 2015 season.

The former US Girls’ Junior champion then added the DHL Amateur crown, campaigned in Malaysia to claim the Kuala Lumpur Amateur diadem then moved to the US to clinch the PNGA (Pacific Northwest Golf Association) plum.

She also took the low amateur honors at LPGT Splendido, the Cactus Tour in Palm Springs and the NWGA (National Women’s Golf Association) to cap a checkered amateur career.

Moving to the pros, Superal debuted back-to-back wins on the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, winning in a four-way playoff to snare the Sherwood leg title and rallying to nip Del Rosario at Eastridge.

But the year didn’t end quite well for the smooth-swinging Superal, who missed the final 70-player cut in the LPGA Tour Q-School Final Stage in Florida. She settled for a Symetra Tour card where she hopes to flourish in the first half of 2017 to gain another crack at an LPGA card during the re-rank midway of the new season.

Despite Superal’s failed bid, Team TCC coach Bong Lopez still expressed satisfaction over Superal’s performance, saying: “Reaching the Final Stage of the tough LPGA School on her first try is quite a feat. She’s young and is sure to have learned her lesson.”

There were other near misses, like in the US Four-Ball where Sofia Chabon and Mikha Fortuna dominated and topped the Qualifying, only to falter in the tournament proper and the Superal-Del Rosario tandem losing to eventual runners-up Angelina Kim and Brianna Navarrosa in the Final Four, also in Florida.

Other winners for the team were Sofia Chabon, who topped the FCG (Future Champions Golf) Callaway World Championship (Class A) and the Ping 2 day Series at Industry Hills (Class A); Mika Fortuna, who ruled the National Tour Valley Open in Texas and the FCG Challenge Cup; Sam Martirez, who copped the low amateur honors at LPGT Southwoods; and Bernice Olivarez Ilas, who took the Class B crowns in the FCG World Championships and the Ping 2 Series at Industry Hills.

Ilas also underscored her potential by winning a pro tournament on the ICTSI LPGT, leading a 1-2 finish by the amateurs with Martinez in the ICTSI LPGT at Beverly Place, where she also ran away with the low amateur plum.

But it was del Rosario who provided the big windup this time, sweeping the Penang and Melaka Opens in Malaysia before keeping the SICC/DBS Junior Invitational crown, which Superal took in 2015.

Del Rosario, also the low amateur at LPGT Eastridge and Sherwood and low medalist in the US Girls’ Junior Qualifying and won the FCG crown at Belmont and the Ping 2 Series title at Tustin Ranch, was actually set to join the University of Kansas as a golf scholar but had a changed of heart and opted to campaign here with an eye on joining the pro ranks as early as next year.

That should make the likes of Ilas, Chabon and Fortuna as the likely spearheads when Team TCC, formed in 2005 after the Manila SEA Games through the initiative of long-time golf patron ICTSI top honcho Ricky Razon and Public Relations head Narlene Soriano in their effort to help produce world-class golfers, resumes its pursuit of glory next year here and abroad.