Pauline del Rosario braces for a tough outing against a slew of seasoned rivals, seeking to cap a sterling rookie season with another victory in the ICTSI South Forbes Ladies Invitational firing off today (Tuesday, Dec. 19) at the South Forbes Golf Club in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
But while she admits to have wished for another win to highlight her remarkable campaign, the 19-year-old rising star expects an uphill battle in the next three days with a set of opponents featuring three of the country’s leading players plus a host of foreign rivals out to foil the locals’ bid in the P750,000 event capping a record 11-stage Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.
“We have a good field so whoever hits it more consistently will fare well,” said del Rosario, who scored her maiden pro win in her fourth tournament at Orchard then followed it up with victories in Baguio, Pradera Verde and Splendido.
In between, she also ruled a Taiwan LPGA event last September, becoming the first Filipina to win in one of the region’s leading circuits.
But she’s not only concerned on the field’s composition but also on the short but tricky par-67 course that poses so much challenge for the women of the tour sponsored by ICTSI.
“It’s super up-and-down, so you have to be accurate with your shots, especially irons and putting,” said del Rosario, who picks LPGA and Symetra Tour campaigners Dottie Ardina, Cyna Rodriguez and Princess Superal as the players to watch in the next three days.
Ardina hopes to make the most of her rare stint on the local circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. while Rodriguez and Superal are out to atone for their so-so showing in the last LPGT leg dominated by the Thais at The Country Club.
Chonlada Chayanun, joint second in Thailand’s sweep of the Philippine Ladies Masters two weeks ago, banners the four-player Thai squad that includes Jaruporn Palakong Naayuttaya, Sarinee Thitiratanakorn and Yupaporn Kawinpakorn.
Del Rosario gets to test her skills as she drew Ardina and Chayanun in the 8:10 a.m. flight while Rodriguez is paired with Chihiro Ikeda and Thitiratanakorn at 8:30 a.m. and Superal will play alongside Palakong Naayuttaya and Marvi Monsalve at 8:20 a.m.
Also in the hunt are Ayaka Morimitsu of Japan, and this year’s Luisita leg winner Euna Koh of South Korea.
Ikeda, who snapped a long title spell at Forest Hills last month, is also raring to nail another win along with former leg champion Sarah Ababa, Apple Fudolin and Jan Punzalan in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf are Laia Barro and Sam Dizon of The Country Club, Kristine Torralba and siblings Nikki and Sam Bruce.