Korean Hwang Min Jeong hopes to sustain the amateurs’ surge on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour as she leads eight other young players slugging it out with the pros in the ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship firing off today at the Orchard Golf and Country Club’s Player course in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
Bernice Olivarez-Ilas and Sam Martirez posted a 1-2 finish by the amateurs at the Beverly Place leg in Pampanga last April then Yuka Saso beat Korean Kang Ji-won, Thai Chatprapa Siriprakob Princess Superal to reign in the last LPGT stop at Eagle Ridge last month.
Hwang, 15, has actually beaten the pros when she won the Mt. Malarayat Ladies Classic last year, besting now LPGA Tour campaigner Cyna Rodriguez and Superal among others, making the Grade 10 student at Holy Infact School in Muntinlupa the player to watch in this week’s P750,000 event sponsored by ICTSI.
She drew veteran campaigners Anya Tanpinco and Lina de Guzman in the 10:10 a.m. flight, hopeful of producing a strong start for the needed momentum against a compact field that includes fellow amateurs Daniella Uy, Felicia Medalla, Chanelle Avaricio, Sheryl Villasencio, Marvi Monsalve, Ashia Nocum, Tomita Arejola and Ginelyn Hepoit.
Fil-Am Cristina Corpus, seeking a follow-up to her breakthrough victory at Luisita last year, banners the pro roster that includes former leg winners Jayvie Agojo and Sarah Ababa along with former Philippine Ladies Open champion Heidi Chua, Apple Fudolin, Lovleyn Guioguo, England’s Sarah Henderson, Korean Euna Koh, Lucy Landicho, Eva Miñoza, Majorie Pulumbarit and Tracy Que.
Chihiro Ikeda is also in the fold with the former SEA Games individual gold medalist resuming her hunt for the elusive victory in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Sharp, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Champion, TaylorMade and Pacsports.
Ikeda will play alongside Miñoza and Nocum at 10:30 a.m., Agojo is grouped with Henderson and Monsalve at 11:10 a.m., while Ababa will start at 11 a.m. with Pulumbarit and Villasencio.