Ardina-Ikeda showdown looms as LPGT commences in Canlubang

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Dottie Ardina braces for another fierce duel, this time against former ICTSI teammate Chihiro Ikeda as the second leg of the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour gets going starting on Tuesday, June 18 at the North course of the Canlubang Golf and Country Club in Laguna.

Ardina needed a final round spurt to frustrate amateur Princess Superal and rule the kickoff leg of the first-ever women’s pro tour by one at The Country Club last month.

But with the long-hitting Ikeda signing up for the P500,000 event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and Cangolf’s north offering a different kind of challenge for the competing field, Ardina is indeed in for a challenging week.

An early shootout looms as Ardina drew Ikeda and LPGT Qualifier second placer amateur Sam Bruce in the first flight at 8 a.m. even as Superal, coming off a stint at the Suntory Open in Japan last week, made a last-minute decision to join the Cangolf event, out to complete an unfinished business after coming in close to humbling the pros at The Country Club.

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Superal, who won the Singapore Amateur Open crown recently, tees off at 8:50 a.m. in the company of Anya Tanpinco and Jan Punzalan.

First leg third placer Cyna Rodriguez, however, will not be around as the former Philippine Ladies Open champion is in the US for a series of tournaments.

“She (Ikeda) hits longer and she can beat me,” said Ardina, one of the country’s most decorated amateur players. “But she’ll have a difficult time.”

So do the rest of the field, including former amateur teammates Jayvie Agojo, Lovelynn Guioguio and Sarah Ababa along with Apple Fudolin, Lucy Landicho, Lina de Guzman and Reb Bareng as Ardina is all pumped up to go 2-for-2 in her professional debut in the circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.

While stressing the need to put emphasis on short game and putting stroke, Ardina said the player who could handle and buck the challenges posed by the course would most likely win the tournament backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Gatorade, Sharp and Custom Clubmakers.

“This will all boil down to course management,” said Ardina, noting it (challenge) varies from tee to green, especially when the wind comes into play.

Also tipped to spoil the professionals’ title bid are amateur Nikki Bruce, who upstaged the veterans by topping the LPGT qualifiers held at the adjacent South layout.

Also seeing action are former Philippine Ladies Open champions Heidi Chua and Mary Grace Estuesta, Eva Miñoza, Sylvia Torres and Tracy Que along with amateurs Bernice Ilas, Harmie Constantino, Yuka Sasu, Pauline del Rosario and Sofia Chabon of the ICTSI golf squad.

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