Locals seek rebound at LPGT Malarayat

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Rookie pro Pauline del Rosario hopes to ride the momentum of her big windup at Splendido last week as she banners the local challenge in the ICTSI Champion Tour at Malarayat beginning on Wednesday at the Mt. Malarayat composite course in Lipa City, Batangas.

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Though she fell short of her title drive with a joint runner-up finish despite a closing 68 in the first of two Taiwan LPGA tournaments in Tagaytay, Del Rosario brims with confidence as she heads to the next $75,000 event, sponsored by Champion and also serves as the second leg of the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.

“I like my chances but unlike last week, I have to be consistent to get a crack at the crown,” said the former amateur hotshot, referring to her pro debut at Splendido where she opened with a 71 but faltered with a 78 in the second round. She did fight back in the final day but ran out of holes with Thai Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul coming through with clutch birdies to seal the victory in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc .

Muangkhumsakul won’t be around to go for another crown to honor a previous commitment to play in China but the Thai contingent remains as formidable as ever with former LPGT leg winner Wannasiri Sirisampant, Narisara Kerdrit, Mookharin Ladgratok, Piyathida Ployumsri, Saranporn Langkulgasettrin and Jaruporn Palakawong­naayuttawa all seeing action this week.

There are actually 25 Thais in the 73-player field, which also includes former LPGT leg champion Hwang Ye-nah of Korea, who bested a tough international field at LPGT Southlinks in 2015, and Japanese Ai Asano, Ai Tanaka and Hidemi Nakamura.

Focus will also be on Korean amateur Hwang Min-jeong, who humbled Cyna Rodriguez and Princess Superal to snare the crown here in 2015, along with last year’s LPGT Beverly Place titlist Bernice Olivarez-Ilas, along with The Country Club teammate Mafy Singson and Sophia Blanco.

Yuka Saso, the low amateur at Splendido last week, also tries to crowd the fancied bets for the crown in the 54-hole championship backed by ICTSI, BDO, Champion, Custom Clubmakers, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, KZG, Sharp, Summit Mineral Water, Titleist and Event Captain.

Rodriguez and Superal, along with fellow Symetra Tour-bound Dottie Ardina and Mia Piccio are also out to redeem themselves from mediocre performances last week, hoping to vie for the crown this time to build some momentum as they head to the US later this month.

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