South rallies in singles, beats North in Duel

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Members of Team South give skipper Sylvia Torres the victory lift after dominating their North rivals in the singles to win the LPGT Duel. They are Sarah Ababa, Eva Miñoza, Lovelynn Guioguio, Barsy Leonen, Apple Fudolin and Anya Tanpinco. Not in photo is Chihiro Ikeda, who had to rush to the airport to catch a flight back to Japan. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Members of Team South give skipper Sylvia Torres the victory lift after dominating their North rivals in the singles to win the LPGT Duel. They are Sarah Ababa, Eva Miñoza, Lovelynn Guioguio, Barsy Leonen, Apple Fudolin and Anya Tanpinco. Not in photo is Chihiro Ikeda, who had to rush to the airport to catch a flight back to Japan. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Team South leaned on its individual talents to turn back Team North, winning five of the eight singles matches to annex a 9-7 victory in the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour’s Duel—North vs South at Cangolf’s South course on Friday in Canlubang.

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Counting the lone all-square match between South’s Apple Fudolino and North’s Jan Punzalan, the Southerners closed out with a whopping 5 1/2-point output to finish with nine points with Sarah Ababa and Barsy Leonen delivering the Duel-clinching victories over Reb Bareng, 5&4, and Lina de Guzman, 7&6, respectively.

North, which led after the fourballs and foursomes, 4 1/2-3 1/2, wound up with seven as Cyna Rodriguez and Lucy Landicho stayed perfect with 3&2 and 1-up victories over Eva Miñoza and South skipper Sylvia Torres, respectively.

Though the event’s inaugural staging proved successful, it was however marred by the death of two of the players’ parents. Miñoza missed the opening fourballs to attend to her father’s wake in Bukidnon while Jayvie Agojo, who saw action in the first day, didn’t play Thursday to attend to her ailing mom, who passed away yesterday morning.

Prayers were offered before the awards rites, led by the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournament Inc. general manager Colo Ventosa.

Chihiro Ikeda rushed things up to catch a flight to Japan and took out Heidi Chua, 5&4, then Anya Tanpinco stayed unbeaten with an 8&7 romp over Majorie Pulumbarit before Lovelynn Guioguio outsteadied North team captain Mary Grace Estuesta, 2&1.

“Just want to help the team because I didn’t play that well yesterday (Thursday),” said Ikeda, who had to catch the 3 p.m. flight to Chiba, Japan for today’s (Saturday) pro-am tournament.

Rodriguez and Landicho kept the Duel tied with victories over Miñoza and Torres but Ababa and Leonen stamped their class over Bareng and De Guzman to anchor Team South’s come-from-behind victory in the event sponsored by ICTSI and backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp.

“We’re confident going to the singles because we have solid players,” said South skipper Sylvia Torres. “Ikeda played well and Barse too, who exceeded expectations because she beat a Canlubang player [de Guzman]. Anya also played well but it would have been a real battle had Jayvie played.”

Estuesta admitted facing a tough task matching up with their rivals in the singles but was nevertheless confident of her wards’ chances.

“Going to the singles, we knew they have five or six solid players and we think of ourselves as underdogs. But we never lost hope and we still felt confident we could compete well. Generally we did except that we didn’t come out as winners,” said Estuesta.

“We’re saddened Jayvee wasn’t able to join us but we hoped that, at least, including my match, we’ll get a draw or an upset against any of their five solid players,” added the former SEA Games gold medalist and Philippine Ladies Open champion. “Imagine, that was my best performance for me and I still lost.”

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