Pinay aces boost LPGT Splendido cast

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Dottie Ardina, Cyna Rodriguez, Mia Piccio and Princess Superal hone up for their respective campaigns abroad as they banner the locals’ bid against a crack international field in the ICTSI Champion Tour at Splendido unfolding on Wednesday at Splendido Taal Golf Club in Tagaytay.

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Ardina, set to play in a number of LPGA events starting late this month, and Symetra Tour-bound Rodriguez, Piccio and Superal go up against a stellar cast led by the mainstays of the Taiwan LPGA Tour and a slew of Thai aces in the $75,000 event kicking off this year’s ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.

Dottie Ardina CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The 54-hole championship, presented by Champion, also serves as the third leg of the Taiwan LPGA Tour and the first two TLPGA tournaments, the other being the ICTSI Champion Tour at Mt. Malarayat in Lipa City, Batangas next week.

Superal finished joint third in last year’s inaugural staging of the event won by Lee Jeong-hwa, who nipped Fumika Kawagishi by one in a thrilling finish. Though the Korean and Japanese won’t be around this time, the depth of the field remains as talent-laden as ever with Chen Yu-Ju, currently No. 4 in the TLPGA Order of Merit ranking, leading the foreign challenge.

Also in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. are Thais Saruttaya Ngam-usawan, winner of last year’s LPGT Royal Northwoods, and former LPGT champions Wannasiri Sirisampant and Amolkan Phalajivin, along with veteran campaigners Ai Asano of Japan, Michelle Koh of Malaysia, Mookharin Ladgratok of Thailand, Taiwanese Lee Chia-pei and Jessica Lydia of Indonesia.

Others tipped to contend in the event, backed by ICTSI, BDO, Champion, Custom Clubmakers, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, KZG, Sharp, Summit Mineral Water, Titleist and Event Captain, are last year’s Orchard leg winner Chihiro Ikeda and former leg champios Fil-Am Cristina Corpus, Jayvie Agojo and Sarah Ababa.

The same field is expected to compete in the next LPGT leg, also offering $75,000, at Mt. Malarayat on March 15 to 17.

After Mt. Malarayat, the LPGT resumes with the ICTSI Luisita Ladies Challenge on April 18 to 20 to be followed by the Orchard Ladies Invitational on May 30 to June 1.

Action shifts back to Baguio on June 28 to 30 for the Baguio Ladies Classic then the circuit heads back to Mt. Malarayat on July 25 to 27. Southwoods will host the seventh leg on Aug. 15-17 then the tour goes to Sherwood Hills on September 12 to 14 and Wack Wack will stage the penultimate leg on October 24 to 26.

The PH Ladies Masters will again wind up the circuit on a date still to be finalized late this year.

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