The ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour kicks off its second season on Monday with a crack field, toughened up by a couple of foreign players, slugging it out for top honors in the ICTSI Orchard Golf Ladies Classic at Orchard’s Player Course in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
Cyna Rodriguez, who won two legs then nipped Jayvie Agojo to clinch the Order of Merit (OOM) crown in the inaugural staging of the country’s premier ladies pro tour, headlines the compact field in the P500,000 event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
From five tournaments, this year’s tour will offer three more legs, making it an eight-stage circuit with the ladies of the tour tackling some of the country’s top championship courses with each leg offering a top purse of P100,000.
Agojo, who finished No. 2 in the OOM ranking despite failing to nail a leg win, is also in the roster along with former SEA Games gold medalist Chihiro Ikeda, Anya Tanpinco, Reb Bareng, Lina De Guzman, Apple Fudolin, Lucy Landicho, Barsy Leonen, Eva Minoza, Majorie Pulumbarit, Jan Punzalan, Lovelynn Guioguio, and former Philippine Ladies Open champion Mary Grace Estuesta.
Thai Amolkan Phalajivin, who dominated the ICTSI LPGT Qualifying School last February, and Korean Seo Yon Kwon spice up the field in the 54-hole tournament organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports , Custom Clubmakers and Sharp.
Dottie Ardina, who swept the first two legs last year at The Country Club and Canlubang, will not be around since she is busy campaigning on the Symetra Tour in the US but the depth of the competing field remains ass talent-laden as ever with Phalajivin and Kwon expected to crowd the local aces for top honors. A number of foreign players have also signified their intention to join the circuit later in the year.
Daniella Uy, coming off a victory in the Philippine Amateur Match Play Championship last Friday, heads the amateur cast vying in the event, including sisters Nikki and Sam Bruce, Vanessa Tsutsui and LK Go.
Team ICTSI spearhead Princess Superal, who humbled the pros by winning the final leg at John Hay last year, will miss the Orchard leg in favor of a series of tournaments abroad, including the RSGC Ambank Junior Open in Malaysia which she ruled in runaway fashion last Thursday. But the reigning SEA Games gold medalist is expected to join the other legs of the circuit.
The second leg will be held June 25 to 27 at John Hay in Baguio before Riviera hosts the next stage on July 1 to 3 for the ICTSI Riviera Ladies Invitational.
The rest of the legs are the ICTSI Mt. Malarayat Ladies Classic on August 12 to 14, the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Ladies Invitational on September 9 to 11, the ICTSI Calatagan Ladies Classic on September 24 to 26, the ICTSI Valley Golf Ladies Challenge on Oct. 14-16, and the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Ladies Championship on November 5 to 7.