Dottie Ardina has confirmed her participation in the ICTSI Philippine Ladies Masters, toughening up the already formidable roster competing in the $80,000 event beginning December 21 at the Alabang Country Club in Muntinlupa.
Ardina is expected to come into the event brimming with confidence, having regained her LPGA Tour card with a joint 21st finish in the recent LPGA Qualifying Tournament Final Stage in Florida early this month.
Though she missed the Top 20 and the full Category 12 status for next year’s LPGA Tour, her strong finish enabled her to earn her tour card through Category 17 and play in 10-15 LPGA events next year.
But Ardina, who won her first three events in the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour but struggled and finished at 11th and joint sixth in the first two legs of the 2016 LPGT won by Korean Lee Jeong-hwa at Splendido and Southwoods, will be as much as tested as the rest of the stellar field in the upcoming 54-hole championship, also serving as the final leg of the Taiwan LPGA Tour.
They include Lee, who will be gunning for a sweep of the three TLPGA Tour events, and a slew of Taiwanese players, headed by TLPGA Order of Merit leader Lin Tzu-chi.
A number of Thai aces are also in the fold, each gearing up for a crack at the top $17,000 purse put up by the sponsoring ICTSI with Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Sharp, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Champion, TaylorMade, Ping, Yamaha and Pacsports as backers.
Wannasiri Sirisampant, Saruttaya Ngam-usawan and Amolkan Phalajivin, all former LPGT winners, head the talent-laden Thailand delegation that includes regular campaigners Saraporn Chamchoi, Walailak Satarak, Supakchaya Pattaranakrueang, Piyathida Ployumsri, Chatprapa Siriprakob, Chonticha Tonkaew and Kanpahnitnan Muangkhumsakul.
Hwang Ye-nah, who upstaged a star-studded international field at LPGT Southlinks last year, is also in the list, along with fellow Koreans Jang So-young, Euna Koh and So Un Kim, while Ai Asano and Mayumi Chinzei will try to become the first Japanese to win on the LPGT.
Focus will also be on Demi Runas, a Fil-Am shotmaker who has been campaigning on the Symetra Tour along with Ardina and Mia Piccio and has been tipped as one of the early contenders for the crown in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Meanwhile, the roster has swelled to 93, including 53 from the Taiwan LPGA Tour and 11 amateurs, guaranteeing a star-studded cast in the inaugural staging of the event. Other Filipina pros in the fold are Cyna Rodriguez, Chihiro Ikeda, Jayvie Agojo, Sarah Ababa and Princess Superal, a two-leg winner this year.