Young turks get the chance to hog the limelight in the Pradera Verde Ladies Challenge, all primed up to make an impact for their respective teams when the second staging of the event is held Jan. 15-17 at the Pradera Verde Golf and Country Club in Lubao, Pampanga.
Team Southeast Asia will pin its hopes on 13-year-olds Pimkwan Chookaew and Phannarai Meesom-us of Thailand, and Singapore’s Shannon Tan as it shoots for a repeat of their convincing victory in the inaugural staging of the event pitting the country’s leading jungolfers and amateurs against the top players from neighboring SEA countries last year.
But Team Philippines has also bolstered its roster in an attempt to get back at the visiting squad, tapping in-form Yuka Saso and Harmie Constantino to anchor a side that also features a pair of talented 13-year-olds in Annyka Cayabyab and Laurea Duque.
Cayabyab, a Grade 8 student at St. Paul Pasig who notched a number of titles abroad, including the Junior World in San Diego, the Veritas Junior Golf and the Future Champions of Golf International, both in California, posted one victory last year in partnership with Mikha Fortuna in four-ball. But the former youngest Most Outstanding Kapampangan awardee, now 13, hopes to put in a stronger performance in the upcoming blue-ribbon event.
So does Duque, the De La Salle-Zobel mainstay, 13, who had stints in the US Kids Golf and Teen World Championship and eager to provide the youth power and deliver for the hosts in the three-day championship patterned after the Ryder Cup.
Other members of Team Phl, co-skippered by Norman Sto. Domingo, Rolly Romero and Daisy Reyes, are last year’s members Nicole Abelar, Tomi Arejola, Sofia Chabon, Bernice Olivarez-Ilas and Fortuna and newcomers Kayla Nocum, Saso and Constantino.
“With Yuka and Harmie providing the experience and leadership, Annyka and Laurea the youth power and the rest the depth and spunk, we expect Team Phl to rebound from last year’s defeat,” said Archen Cayabyab, who launched the event last year with Lubao Mayor Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab and Sto. Domingo to help boost the country’s junior and amateur golf program and provide the local players the feel of team play.
But Team SEA is also raring to make it back-to-back on a squad built around Thais Kultida Pramphun, Onkanok Soisuwan and Pinkaew Trachentong, all 16-year-olds, Malaysian Winnie Ng, Ashley Lau, Audrey Tan and Zulaikah Nurzian and 18-year-old Indonesian Michela Tjan.
That should guarantee fierce action right from the opening round – a five-team duel under the Scramble format in the morning before play shifts to alternate shot in the afternoon. The two sides will play best ball in the second day then back to alternate shot format in the afternoon. The deciding singles (10 matches) will be held on Jan. 17 with the team to score 15.5 points to win the perpetual Pradera Verde Ladies trophy.