Scoring will be low when the three-cornered fight for the centerpiece Championship Division crown of the PAL Ladies Interclub tees off on Tuesday at tree-lined Cebu Country Club in Cebu City.
With lift-clean-and-place rules to likely be in effect and with tournament director Henry Arabelo setting the course up to be “generally fair” at just over 5,100 yards, Manila Southwoods-Masters, Cebu CC and Pradera Verde virtually have the green light to target flags.
SW-Masters guns for a seventh straight title with a core now made up of Sofia Chabon and Mika Fortuna, and the Carmona-based squad is expected to have its hands full against the equally young and talented hosts and newcomer Pradera.
Rains the past few days have softened the age-old layout, with Arabelo saying that he would likely be forced to apply preferred lies rules.
The weather, Arabelo said, has not been bad that a repeat of what happened last year in Baguio where the tournament was shortened to 54 holes will not happen.
“It doesn’t look that way, although it has been raining the past few days that winter rules would likely be enforced,” Arabelo said while supervising the official practice round on Monday. “We will finish this year and we see a very tight fight.”
Chabon and Fortuna will carry the fight for SW-Masters with Pauline del Rosario turning pro earlier this year and Abegail Arevalo failing to get a leave from her studies at San Jose State University in the United States.
Yuka Saso and 13-year-old Annika Pineda-Cayabyab will spearhead Pradera, which will make its debut with a team that has an 18-year-old as its oldest player.
Cebu CC will be playing with a distinct advantage having familiarity of the tough layout as it tries to finally break SW-Masters’ stranglehold ever since this event was revived in 2010.
This year’s PAL Ladies Interclub sponsors are Primax Broadcasting Network, Mareco Broadcasting Network, Fox Sports, Travelife Magazine, People Asia, Asian Air Safari, Airbus, Travel Now Magazine/ TouchPay, Bombardier, PLDT and Mastercard.
Support also comes from TFC, Rustan’s Commercial Corporation, Asia Brewery Inc., Alaska Corporation, Eton Properties, Trinity Insurance and Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.