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Del Rosario sets sights on ICTSI Philippine Masters title

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Del Rosario sets sights on ICTSI Philippine Masters title
Pauline del Rosario

MANILA, Philippines – Pauline del Rosario is poised to overcome the challenges of long-distance travel as she vies for the coveted crown in the ICTSI Villamor Ladies Philippine Masters, which kicks off Wednesday, May 22, at the tight Villamor Golf Club in Pasay City.

Fresh off her Epson Tour campaign, del Rosario took the earliest flight from Utah to compete in this week’s championship, the fourth leg of this year’s Ladies Philippine Golf Tour. She aims for redemption after narrowly missing her title defense at Caliraya Springs last April, where she finished just two strokes behind the formidable Harmie Constantino.

The 2017 LPGT Order of Merit winner, who clinched four victories in her rookie season, is resolute in her quest for the championship while also preparing for her next Epson Tour event in Michigan next month.

She, however, opted to temper her expectations, saying: “I’ll just take it day-by-day. Villamor is very different than what we play on the Epson Tour, but I welcome that as a challenge,” said del Rosario, who is competing for the fifth consecutive week. “I love being at home and I’m glad the LPGT scheduled an event during my off-week.”

Del Rosario showed promise by the making the cut in her first six tournaments in the LPGA Tour developmental league but had to withdraw from this week’s Copper Rock Championship due to a pollen allergy. 

Focus will also be on Constantino, the winner of the circuit’s second and third legs at Palos Verdes and Caliraya Springs. The defending champion of the P750,000 event, Constantino also aims to leverage her familiarity with the tree-lined layout, where she honed her skills from her junior golf days.

Among the rising stars, Mikha Fortuna is eyeing a top finish, seeking her second career win after a commanding performance in the TCC Match Play Invitational at The Country Club last year.

Lois Kaye Go, a former national team standout, is also due for a breakthrough on the premier ladies circuit organized by Pilipins Golf Tournaments Inc. and supported by PGTI's official apparel, Kampfortis Golf. Despite leading the Palos Verdes stop after two rounds last March, Go succumbed to final round pressure, ending in a tie for fourth place.

She also finished tied for 10th at Caliraya Springs and shared 22nd place in the ICTSI Luisita International, a co-sanctioned event by the LPGT and the LPGA of Taiwan Tour last month.

Other notable contenders include Apo leg winner Sarah Ababa, former leg champion Florence Bisera, along with Pamela Mariano, Gretchen Villacencio, Apple Fudolin, Rev Alcantara, Kristine Fleetwood, Lucy Landicho, Velinda Castil, Kayla Nocum and Chihiro Ikeda.

With a highly-competitive field and several players, including Seoyun Kim, Minyeong Kim and Eunhua Nam, in top form, the 54-hole tournament promises an exciting battle for the championship.

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PAULINE DEL ROSARIO

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