The ICTSI Pradera Ladies Classic gets going today with the Taiwanese, the Thais and the local top guns all set for three days of battle of shotmaking and wits at the Pradera Verde Golf and Country Club in Lubao, Pampanga.
But a host of aces from Korea, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia are also coming into the $80,000 event upbeat of their respective chances, all geared up for the title chase at the flat, hazard-laden par-72 layout which put emphasis on power and putting for its length and sleek surface.
The event being part of the LPGA of Taiwan (TLPGA), the Taiwanese hope to stamp their class with three of the top 10 players in its current Order of Merit ranking – No. 3 Chen Hsuan, No. 6 Tzu Chi Liu and No. 8 Ching Huang – spearheading their charge.
Others tipped to contend in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and sanctioned by TLPGA are Tai Ling Lee, Hanna Chen, Chia Wen Tai, Hsiao Ling Wu, Hsuan Ping Chang, Lynn Chiu, and amateur Yu Chiang Hou, 18, who bested the cream of the pro crop to snare the TLPGA Ladies Open crown last year, and sister Yu Sang Hou.
But the Thais, the country’s perennial regional rivals who have scored a number of victories on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, are also coming in full force, led by defending champion and multi-titled Yupaporn Kawinpakorn, Thanutra Boonraksasat and Arpichaya Yubol, who nailed back-to-back victories at LPGT Southwoods and Manila Golf legs last April, and former leg winners Ploychompoo Wilairungrueng, Onkanok Soisuwan, Supakchaya Pattaranakrueang, and Wannasiri Sirisampant.
The Pinays, however, are also ready for the showdown with former LPGT OOM winners Pauline del Rosario and Princess Superal heading the hosts’ title drive along with Chihiro Ikeda, winner of the last LPGT leg at Midlands last May, guaranteeing a shootout right from the first shot.