Chanelle Avaricio

TAGAYTAY – The ladies of the Philippine Golf Tour get into high gear after a virtual break-in at Eagle Ridge last week following a long layoff as they resume their spirited chase for top LPGT honors in the ICTSI Tagaytay Highlands Ladies Challenge starting Tuesday here.

It will indeed be a true test in the next three days as the tricky Highlands course offers practically all the elements needed to challenge not only the bidders’ shotmaking skills and mental toughness but also their endurance given the layout’s up-and-down makeup and contours, hazards and putting surface.

Some holes are also exposed to winds whipping in off all sides.

Harmie Constantino will be the marked player, having captured the ICTSI Aoki crown four days ago on amateur Mafy Singson’s late mishap while Chihiro Ikeda and Chanelle Avaricio hope to ride the momentum of their strong finishes to bolster their respective title drive in the P750,000 championship put up by ICTSI.

Ikeda, who won at the adjacent Midlands course via sudden death over Pauline del Rosario in 2019, rallied to finish third at Aoki while Avaricio, who had hoped for a top podium finish after placing second to Princess Superal at Sherwood Hills and Eagle Ridge-Norman before the LPGT went on another break last July, came out of nowhere to snare fourth place.

Avaricio got a big boost after scoring a hole-in-one during Monday’s practice round. The Alabama State U product used a Ping 8-iron and Pro-V1 No. 3 ball in acing the 128-yard No. 9.

Marvi Monsalve, Sunshine Baraquiel and Daniella Uy are all due for a big finish along with former leg winner Sarah Ababa, Lovelyn Guioguio, Pamela Mariano, Apple Fudolin, Sheryl Villasensio and Florence Bisera.

Gretchen Villacencio, whose best finish was runner-up to Superal at Riviera in 2018, rejoins the tour after missing last week’s action, eager to spring a surprise in the 54-hole tournament held under strict health and safety protocols. 

Korean Jane Jeong is also out to make a mark in her pro debut.

Focus will also be on the amateurs with Singson hoping to come out stronger and tougher from last week’s late stumble, along with Laurea Duque and Burberry Zhang.

Eagle Ace Superal is also raring to atone for her forgettable showing last week while Keena Puzon and Arnie Taguines, the low amateur at Eagle Ridge-Norman, beef up the ranks in the event, the second of four bubble tournaments lined up by the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. after the three-month hiatus.

After a break next week, action heats up with the staging of the ICTSI Riviera Ladies Challenge on Nov. 24-26 while the ICTSI Riviera Ladies Championship will be held Dec. 1-3 at the Couples and Langer courses in Silang, Cavite.

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