TEAM Pradera vowed to go all-out early in a bid to gain momentum when it slugs it out with the best in Southeast Asia in the Pradera Ladies Golf Challenge slated January 15-17 at the Pradera Golf Club in Lubao, Pampanga.
“Since match play is a head-to-head battle, the best way to put pressure on an opponent is to keep the ball in play. If you don't attack, your opponent will probably attack you back,” said Chona De La Paz, one of the team captains of Team Pradera in the first-ever Ryder Cup-style duel pitting the country’s top amateurs against SEA’s leading players.
Two-time LPGA Tour winner Jennifer Rosales, the other Team Pradera skipper along with NGAP’s Rolly Romero, looks beyond the competition, saying the event also serves as a vehicle to foster camaraderie with the Phl’s neighbors.
“I'm happy and excited for our girls to have this new event. This first-ever Ryder Cup-style format is a good event for greater golf relations with our SEA neighbors. I’m really excited and looking forward to it,” said Rosales, also a five-time Philippine Ladies Open champion.
Former Thailand Amateur Open champion Pauline del Rosario and five-time world junior titlist Annyka Cayabyab head the 10-player Team Pradera all primed-up for what promises to be a shootout in the event put up by Archen Cayabyab and Lubao Mayor Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab in consultation with coach Norman Sto. Domingo.
“This event will not only showcase the individual talents of the participants but also their teamsmanship and I believe the effect of this match will influence a cordial and friendly relations among SEA neighbors,” said Archen Cayabyab, who promised to hold the event annually at the country’s newest, sprawling golf complex. “I also thank the team captains for giving their time and wisdom to the girls.”
Other members of the host squad are Mikha Fortuna, Sofia Chabon, Bernice Ilas and Abby Arevalo of Team The Country Club, jungolfer Mika Arroyo, Nicole Abelar, Tomi Arejola and Missy Legaspi.
Thai teen star Attaya Thitikul, meanwhile, spearheads Team SEA, which includes fellow Thais Napabhach Boon-in, Tunrada Piddon, Onkanok Soisuwan and Kan Bunnabodee, Malaysians Qistina Balqis, Geraldine Wong, Natasha Oon and Winnie Ng and Michela Tjan of Indonesia with Dato Raby Abbas and Phunumpa Pornperan as team captains.
Five pairs will clash in the first two days with two sets of matches lined up, including the foursome in the morning and the best ball in afternoon play. Each side will field five teams. The deciding singles will be played on January 17. The team to score 15.5 points wins the duel.
While citing their edge on their local knowledge of the par-72 layout, Romero cautions their wards not to take any chances, saying they will be up against a crack mix of rivals who are all top players in their respective countries.
“Team SEA is made up of the young, talented players, so we have to be prepared,” said Romero. “I think we have the edge with regards to the local knowledge of the course, but the other team is also ready and raring to prove their worth.”