A 31-player strong Taiwanese contingent sets out for the Champion Philippine Ladies Amateur Open, all ready and raring to grab the spotlight in the country’s premier championship unfolding tomorrow at the posh Manila Golf Club in Forbes Park.
Sung You-Chuan, Chiang Su-Er and Lee Shu Fen spearhead the big crew from Chinese-Taipei out to snap the domination of the locals and the Thais in the annual event which drew an elite international cast, including six each from Singapore and the United States, four from South Korea, three from Australia and two from Japan.
The hosts are fielding in 39 players, headed by defending champion and Asian Games gold medalist Yuka Saso, upbeat of their chances to extend their reign to a fourth straight year but wary of one of the strongest fields ever assembled in the annual event presented by Champion and sponsored by Hana Shampoo, EVA Air, San Miguel Corp. and Diamond Motor Corp.
Tipped to back Sung, Chiang and Lee in their title chase in the 54-hole championship organized and conducted by the Womens’ Golf Association of the Philippines are Huang Jo Chan, Wang Ya Chin, Tang Su Nu, Su Daphne, Wang Hsin Yu, Tsai Hsin Hui and Shih Li Mei.
Still, focus will be on Saso and a crack bunch of local aces, including recent W Express RVF Cup winner Junia Gabasa, along with the three young Thais seeking to reclaim the crown last won by compatriot Pimnipa Panthong at Wack Wack in 2015.
Like the rest of the field, 16-year-olds Yosita Khawnuna and Natthakritta Vongtaveelap and Chanettee Wannasaen, who will turn 15 in April, are all primed up for the event, eager to slug it out it with the best and the brightest in three days of top-notch shotmaking and putting.
Koreans Park Eun Suk and Lim Mi Jin also aim to duplicate compatriot Lee Jeong Hwa’s title feat in 2012 while Japanese Airi Mitsuhashi and Ikuko Kito, a regular campaigner on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, likewise seek to contend in the tournament.
Other Pinays vying in the event, supported by the ladies chapters of Alabang, Forest Hills, Tagaytay Highlands, Canlubang and Manila Golf Club with Vermogen, Sports + Action and Sports U channels of ABS-CBN, are Nicole Abelar, Sunshine Baraquiel, Laia Barro, Sophia Blanco, Annyka Cayabyab, Laurea Duque and Sophia Legaspi, among others.