Euna Koh hopes to come out strong coming off a long break as the young Korean guns for a second straight Ladies Philippine Golf Tour crown in the ICTSI Orchard Ladies Invitational, which unfolds Wednesday at the Orchard’s Player course in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
The 18-year-old shotmaker from Gwangju fought back from five down, blew a two-shot lead late in regulation but edged local rookie pro Pauline del Rosario in the playoff to snare the ICTSI Luisita Ladies Challenge crown last April.
She further honed her skills at Riviera during the tour lull in anticipation of a tougher challenge from the compact field in the P1 million event sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Del Rosario, for one, is out to redeem herself from her failed bid in Tarlac with the former amateur hotshot and Philippine Ladies Open champion also keeping herself in shape during the break with regular practice and training at Southwoods. She is also coming off a third place finish in Thailand last week.
Chihiro Ikeda is also all primed up for the event, hoping to re-display the form that netted her a three-stroke victory over Lovelyn Guiguio in wet condition last year that saw the former SEA Games individual gold medalist finally score a breakthrough as a pro.
The local players are actually hard-pressed to stop the foreign domination of the circuit backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf after Thai Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsahul topped the LPGT Splendido, Korean Yeh Nah Hwang reigned at Mt. Malarayat and Koh, who never had previously figured in a championship, pulled off a big surprise at Luisita.
Del Rosario, 17, has vowed to dish out her best shot and flash endgame poise this week, along with Ikeda and former leg winner Sarah Ababa, Apple Fudolin, Anya Tanpinco, Eva Miñoza, Jan Punzalan, Lina de Guzman, Lucy Landicho, Marjorie Pulumbarit, Sheryl Villacencio, Sylvia Torres and Guioguio.
From Orchard, the LPGT goes up north in Baguio on June 28-30 for the ICTSI Baguio Ladies Classic at the tricky Baguio Country Club before Riviera hosts the sixth leg on July 25-27 for the ICTSI Riviera Championship.
Southwoods will stage the penultimate leg of the eight-leg circuit on Aug. 15=17 with the second ICTSI Philippines Ladies Masters, ruled by Thai Saranporn Langkulgasettrin at Alabang last year, set later this year.