Mia Piccio hopes to sustain her form coming off a Top 40 finish in the LPGA Q-School Stage II as she shoots for her first Ladies Philippine Golf Tour crown at the ICTSI Forest Hills Ladies Challenge unfolding on Wednesday at the Forest Hills Golf and Country Club in Antipolo.
Piccio has had a number of bad breaks in the country’s premier ladies circuit, including a one-stroke setback to Korean Lee Jeong Hwa at Manila Southwoods last last year. She tied for fifth in this year’s Champions Tour at Splendido and struggled to finish joint 15th at Mt. Malarayat last March.
But she exudes confidence as she heads to this week’s P750,000 event sponsored by ICTSI following her joint 40th effort in Stage II of the LPGA in Florida that netted her a spot in the gruelling Final Stage later this month for a crack at next year’s LPGA Tour cast.
A slew of rivals, however, will be out to foil Piccio’s bid in the 54-hole championship, including former LPGA campaigner Cyna Rodriguez and the hottest player on the tour today, rookie Pauline del Rosario, who has won three of the last four tournaments in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Two former leg winners from Thailand – Wannasiri Sirisampant and Amolkan Phalajivin – are also in the fold, guaranteeing fierce duel for top honors in the event serving as the eighth leg of the 10-stage circuit backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf,
Other Thais tipped to contend are Jaruporn P Naayutthawa, Supakchaya Pattaranakrueang, Tiranan Yoopan and Mookharin Ladgratok, also of Thailand.
Also seeing action are Korean Euna Koh, Sarah Ababa and Chichio Ikeda, all former LPGT leg winners, South African Madeleen Grosskopf, Apple Fudolin, Anya Tanpinco, Sylvia Torres, Lucy Landicho, Sheryl Villasencio and Gretchen Villacencio.
Beefing up the compact but talent-laden cast are three amateurs in Isabela Maravite, Sam Dizon and Mafy Singson.
From Antipolo, the circuit moves to Splendido in Tagaytay for the penultimate leg of the 10-leg circuit on Nov. 21-23 before winding up at The Country Club for the ICTSI Philippine Ladies Masters.