The country’s touring ladies brace for a major challenge when the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour resumes with a rare stop in Antipolo next week for the ICTSI Valley Golf Ladies Challenge at the treacherous South course.
Chihiro Ikeda bucked a final round breakdown to thwart Sarah Ababa by two and rule the Eagle Ridge Aoki Invitational last July for her second LPGT championship in the last four legs before the circuit took a two-month break following clashes at Luisita, Hallow Ridge, Caliraya Springs, Mount Malarayat, Splendido Taal and Pradera Verde.
But the Fil-Japanese shotmaker and the rest of the 20-player cast will be in for what could be their toughest test at Valley South, a daunting rolling, tight layout that repels anything less than accurate shots.
The Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc.organized circuit first and last held a tournament at Valley in 2014 with LPGA/Epson Tour campaigner Dottie Ardina edging Mia Piccio by two at the adjacent, hazard-laden Executive course.
But the 7 to 9 September championship promises to be a far more daunting battle of shotmaking and wits given the makeup of Valley South, which hosted two Philippine Open Championships, the first in 1991 and the last in 2010.
“It will indeed be a different kind of challenge (at Valley) but we have prepared long and hard for the LPGT resumption, so we expect good competition,” said Ikeda, who also won at Mt. Malarayat.
Sunshine Baraquiel and Harmie Constantino toughen up the compact field in the absence of three-leg winner Chanelle Avaricio, with the former, winner at Tagaytay Highlands last year, coming off a series of tournaments in the US, and the latter currently vying in the Thailand Women’s PGA.
Others joining the title chase in the P750,000 championship serving as the eighth leg of this year’s circuit put up by ICTSI are Ababa, Pamela Mariano, Martina Miñoza, Marvi Monsalve, Lucy Landicho, Apple Fudolin, Gretchen Villacencio, Lovelynn Guioguio, Majorie Pulumbarit, Eva Miñoza and Kristine Fleetwood.
Meanwhile, action shifts back to Riviera for the ICTSI Riviera Championship on Oct. 4-6 before Pradera Verde hosts the circuit for the second time this year from 25 to 27 October. The LPGT wraps up its season in Morong, Bataan for the Anvaya Cove Ladies International from 2 to 4 November.
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