Fifty Taiwan LPGA Tour campaigners, headed by ICTSI Ladies Open winner Hwang Ye-Nah, gear up for a return stint on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, which kicks off its fourth season on March 9 to 11 with the ICTSI Champion Tour at Splendido Taal Golf Club in Tagaytay.
Hwang nipped local amateur ace Princess Superal by one to rule the inaugural staging of a TLPGA event at Southlinks last year but the Korean ace faces a formidable challenge in her drive for another TLPGA and LPGT crown against a stellar roster toughened up by a slew of Taiwan LPGA players.
They include Yu Pei-lin, No. 8 in the current TLPGA Order of Merit ranking, No. 10 Chen Yu-Ju, No. 12 Huang Ching, No. 18 Lu Ya Huei and No. 19 Pan Yen-ling and Thai Kanphanitnan Muangkhumaskul, winner of the Hitachi Ladies Classic, the kickoff leg of this year’s Taiwan LPGA.
With the cream of the country’s pro crop and leading amateurs also in the fold, the battle for top honors in the $75,000 event presented by Champion and TLPGA and sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. is expected to be fierce and tight.
The 54-hole championship, organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., is the first of two LPGT tournaments serving as the fifth and sixth legs of the Taiwan LPGA, underlining the LPGT’s growing status as one of the circuits to play in the region.
The ICTSI Champion Tour at Manila Southwoods will be held next on March 16-18 at the Legends course in Carmona, Cavite with practically the same Splendido field clashing in another $75,000 tournament backed by adidas, Custom Clubmakers, KZG, TaylorMade, Champion, Summit Natural Drinking Water, Pacsports, Sharp and Rustans Supermarket.
Joining Muangkhumaskul in the crack Thai roster are Amolkan Phalajivin, winner of the LPGT Splendido in 2014, Walailak Satarak, Kurika Jang, Panuma Vitayakonkomol, Thanuttra Boonraksasat, Saruttaya Ngam-Usawan, Saranporn Langkulgasettrin, Supakchaya Pattaranakrueang, Chayuda Singhsuwan, Mookharin Ladgratok and Pornpak Paksakul.
Others joining the title hunt are former Philippine Ladies Open champion Lee Jeong-hwa and fellow Koreans, Kang Ji-won, Grace Lee and Gu Na-eun, Japanese Tomoko Takahashi, Fumika Kawagishi, Ai Asano, Senno Yasufuku and Mayumi Chinzei, and Aretha Pan and Dianne Luke of Malaysia.
Superal, hot on a seven-win streak here and abroad, also confirmed her participation along with The Country Club teammates Pauline Del Rosario, Sam Martirez and Kayla Nocum and fellow amateurs Laia Barro and Yuka Saso
After Splendido and Southwoods, action in the LPGT resumes with the ICTSI Beverly Place Classic on April 27 to 29 at the Beverly Place Golf Club in Pampanga while Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club in Cavite will stage the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Ladies Invitational on May 11 to 13 while the ICTSI LPGT Championship will be held June 29-July 1 at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.
The Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa, Batangas will stage the sixth leg on Aug. 24-26 with Sherwood Hills Golf Club, also in Cavite, holding the seventh leg on Sept. 6-8 followed by the ICTSI Eastridge Ladies Invitational at the Eastridge Golf Club in Binangonan, Rizal on September 28 to 30 and the ICTSI Royal Northwoods Ladies Challenge on Oct. 25-27 at the Royal Northwoods Golf Club in San Rafael, Bulacan.