Reigning Philippine Ladies Masters winner Saranporn Langkulgasettrin sets out for another major crown here as she joins the hunt in the ICTSI Champion Tour at Malarayat, which gets going Wednesday at the Mt. Malarayat composite course in Lipa City, Batangas.
Langkulgasettrin missed last week’s ICTSI Champion Tour at Splendido ruled by compatriot Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul but 17-year-old rising star from Phuket is all primed up for this week’s $75,000 event, ready to take the cudgels for the big 25-player Thai contingent against a crack international field, led by the country’s top players.
Muangkhumsakul has begged off to honor a previous commitment to play in China but with Langkulgasettrin as spearhead, together with former ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour champion Wannasiri Sirisampant, the Thais are upbeat of their chances to sweep the first two legs of this year’s ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour which also serve as part of the Taiwan LPGA.
Langkulgasettrin beat Korean Lee Jeong-hwa by three to win the inaugural Phl Ladies Masters at Alabang Golf Club last December but the former Thai LPGA Tour winner expects a tougher challenge this time, especially from the bunch of local aces out to redeem themselves from their failed bid last week.
They include rookie pro Pauline del Rosario, who finished joint second at Splendido, and Symetra Tour-bound Mia Piccio, Cyna Rodriguez, Princess Superal and Dottie Ardina.
Meanwhile, Langkulgasettrin, Sirisampant and Taiwanese Chen Min-jou, Pan Yen-ling and Hsin Lee join the Pinay shotmakers in today’s pro-am tournament with officials and guests of the event’s chief backers, including ICTSI, BDO, Champion, Custom Clubmakers, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, KZG, Sharp, Summit Mineral Water, Titleist and Event Captain.
Former LPGT leg champion Hwang Ye-nah of Korea, who bested a tough international field at LPGT Southlinks in 2015, is also in the fold along with Japanese Ai Asano, Ai Tanaka and Hidemi Nakamura, all geared up to vie for the top $15,000 purse.
Amateur Hwang Min-jeong, who upended Rodriguez and Superal in a thrilling finale to snatch the crown here in 2015, is also out to contend for the crown along with last year’s LPGT Beverly Place winner Bernice Olivarez-Ilas, and Yuka Saso, the low amateur at Splendido last week.
The top 50 plus ties after two rounds will advance to the championship of the second of the 10-stage LPGT set at Mt. Lobo and Mt. Malipunyo nines.