Korean amateur Hwang Min-jeong hopes to recall the form she flashed in a dominant run in the recent Philippine Amateur Championship, looking to spoil the pros’ title drive in the ICTSI Riviera Ladies Classic unfolding today in Silang, Cavite.
Hwang posted an 11-under total at the Couples layout to blast the field in the national amateur tilt last January with the 17-year-old rising star eyeing to duplicate her feat on the same par-72 course and crowd the fancied pros for top honors in the 54-hole championship.
They include Princess Superal, Cyna Rodriguez, Chihiro Ikeda and Thai Amolkan Phalajivin, who are tipped to slug it out for the top P150,000 purse in the sixth leg of this year’s Ladies Philippine Golf Tour sponsored by ICTSI.
Hwang, then 14, humbled Superal, Rodriguez and other pros at Mt. Malarayat in 2015 with the reigning national champion all primed up for a shot at a second pro crown in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
But she will be facing a slew of pros either enjoying top form or raring to regain their winning ways in the tour, including Superal, who is coming off a record 16-stroke romp at Highlands last week, and former three-time LPGT Order of Merit winner Rodriguez, who is out to end a long title drought.
Hwang hopes to play pressure-free and start out strong in the company of fellow amateurs Missy Legaspi and Korean Lisa Kang at 7:50 a.m. with Superal drawing an early 7:10 a.m. tee-off with Marvi Monsalve and Eva Miñoza.
Ikeda, her bid at Highlands hampered by a slight wrist injury, tries to cash in on her 7 a.m. start with Sarah Ababa and Lucy Landicho while Rodriguez slugs it out with Phalajivin, the best Thai finisher at fourth last week, and Apple Fudolin in the 7:30 a.m. group.
Others seeing action in the event, backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZGm PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf, are Jan Punzalan, Tracy Que and Gretchen Villacencio and amateurs Kelly Marutani of Japan, Koreans Bang Choeun, Rho Hyun Ji, Kim Hui Won, Jang Yun Ji and Kim Heeji, Laia Barro, Samantha Dizon and Mafy Singson.