Dottie Ardina
Filipino aces seek redemption as LPGT Beverly unfolds
Dante Navarro (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MEXICO, Pampanga, Philippines — A fired-up local side, led by LPGA Tour-bound Dottie Ardina and reigning Ladies Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit champion Princess Superal, slugs it out with a crack Thai crew, eager to nail the victory that has eluded the country’s leading players in the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.

But the country’s perennial regional rivals are also going flat out for another successful campaign in the ICTSI Beverly Place Ladies Classic firing off today with 24 of their top players all primed up for a clash with the country’s best and the rest of the 48-player cast.

Yupaporn Kawinpakorn won’t be around to defend her crown she won by three over Chihiro Ikeda last year, but the Thais’ roster remains as talent-laden as ever with Aunchisa Utama and Ornicha Konsunthea joining Ardina and Korean Bang Choeun in the 8:30 a.m. flight.

Pimpadsorn Sangkagaro and Jaruporn P Na Ayuthaya mix it up with former LPGT OOM titlist Pauline del Rosario and another Korean Lee Ji Hyeon in the 8:20 a.m. group just after Superal tees off with Chonlada Chayanun, Numa Gulyanamitta and Mookharin Ladgratok at 8:10 a.m.

Former three-time OOM winner Cyna Rodriguez, meanwhile, hopes to come out strong against Narisara Kerdrit and Saraporn Chamchoi in the 8 a.m. group firmed up by the presence of two-time LPGT Champion Tour champion Lee Jeong Hwa, also of Korea.

Focus will also be on Ji Hyeon, who will be hard-pressed to prove her worth as a pro after shocking the elite field to rule the kickoff leg of the new LPGT season in Baguio as an amateur last October.

Ikeda, on the other hand, is up against former LPGT leg winner Wannasiri Sirisampant and Pattraporn Kratururk with Brunei’s Valerie Tan completing the four-player group in the 54-hole tournament put up by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

The Thais won five of the 12 LPGT tournaments last year with Chamchoi, Sirisampant and company eager to score a follow-up to Kawinpakorn’s two-stroke victory over compatriot Pimpadsorn Sangkagaro at Pradera last December.

Ardina placed a distant third but the Canlubang ace, who placed second in the Symetra Tour last year to earn full playing rights in the world’s most lucrative circuit, is out to stop the Thais’ run and build some confidence and momentum as she heads to the LPGA Tour in Australia next month.

Forty-eight players, including six amateurs, will slug it out for the top 15 plus ties slots in the first 36 holes. Others tipped to contend are Daniella Uy, Marvi Monsalve and Gretchen Villacencio and Thais Saruttaya Ngam-usawan, Sarinee Thitiratanakorn and Tiranan Yoopan.

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