Cyna Rodriguez sets out as the heavy favorite in the P500,000 ICTSI Eagle Ridge Ladies Invitational unfolding today at Eagle Ridge’s Aoki course in Gen. Tiras, Cavite, looking for her third straight victory and fourth in five legs of this year’s ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.
But the former Philippine Ladies Open champion has opted to downplay her chances for another win despite posting a pair of lopsided victories in the last two legs of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. at ICTSI John Hay and ICTSI Mt. Malarayat.
“I don’t consider myself as the heavy favorite,” said Rodriguez. “Anybody can win here. Like them, I practice hard to get to victory. Each event is a real test.”
But she has raised the level of play in the last two stages of the circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc., beating Thai Amolkan Phalijivin twice—by 11 strokes in Baguio and by 10 at Malarayat.
That makes her the player to beat again in this week’s 54-hole championship backed by Nike, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp although the rest of the compact field are raring to go all-out to foil the hottest player on the tour.
“I need a strong start since Cyna will be tough to beat if she’s able to take control early,” said Chihiro Ikeda, seeking her maiden win on the circuit launched last year to give the country’s top lady pros a tournament of their own vis-à-vis the men’s ICTSI PGT.
Jayvie Agojo, winner of the second leg at ICTSI Riviera which Rodriguez skipped to compete abroad, is also out to atone for her poor finishes in Baguio and Malarayat, stressing the need for concentrationa and hit as many birdies as possible.
“I just have to stay focused and make many birdies possible,” said Agojo, who beat Ikeda by three at Riviera but struggled to finish sixth in Baguio and joint third at Malarayat.
Phalajivin is also expected to get back at Rodriguez and try to put herself into title contention along with the rest of the field, including Sarah Ababa, Lovelynn Guioguio, Anya Tanpinco and Korean Kwon Seo Yon.
Rodriguez drew a rather late start at 8:40 a.m. in a group that includes Jan Punzalan and Lucy Landicho while Ikeda will start a flight ahead at 8:30 a.m. with Phalajivin and Tanpinco.
Agojo is paired with Lina de Guzman and Ababa in the 8:10 a.m. group while Guioguio and Kwon will tee off first at 8 a.m. with amateur Pauline del Rosario, priming up for the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea two weeks from now.
Other amateurs vying in the event are Sam Green, who will be with Sylvia Torres and Eva Miñoza at 8:20 a.m. and Korean Hwang Min Jeong, who is paired with Tracy Que and Heidi Chua in the 8:50 a.m. flight.