CYNA Rodriguez and Dottie Ardina take a break from their US campaigns to banner the Philippine challenge against Taiwan LPGA Tour campaigners in the US$75,000 ICTSI Champion Tour starting on March 9 at Splendido Taal Golf Club in Tagaytay.
The three-day championship serves as the kickoff leg of this year’s ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour and the first of two Taiwan LPGA events jointly presented by Champion and TLPGA the country is hosting this month.
“I’m getting myself back into championship form. It’s just a quick fix and then I’m ready to go but I have to focus more on the game and hope everything will turn out fine,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez and Ardina are also looking to improve on their finishes in the ICTSI Ladies Open last year, when the former wound up sixth and the latter finished tied for 23rd.
Rodriguez is now an LPGA Tour member, while Ardina is competing on the development circuit Symetra Tour.
“I’m excited to play in my first tournament for the year. I hope I could get one win before heading to the US,” said Ardina, winner of three LPGT events.
Rodriguez, a former Philippine Ladies Open champion and top money earner on the LPGT, is also looking to get a boost after missing the cut in two legs of the LPGA after debuting with a joint 72nd finish in the Bahamas.
The event has lured 50 TLGPA players, including Thailand’s Kanphanitnan Muangkhumaskul, who ruled the TLPGA kickoff leg Hitachi Ladies Classic, and five in the current Top 20 money list of the Taiwan circuit – Yu Pei-lin (No. 8), Chen Yu-Ju (No. 10), Huang Ching (No. 12), Lu Ya Huei (No. 18) and Pan Yen-ling (No. 19).
The same field will vie in the ICTSI Champion Tour at Manila Southwoods set March 16 to 18 at the Legends course in Carmona, Cavite, another US$75,000 tournament co-presented by Champion and TLPGA and backed by adidas, Custom Clubmakers, KZG, TaylorMade, Champion, Summit Natural Drinking Water, Pacsports, Sharp and Rustans Supermarket.
Other local players tipped to crowd the favorites for the championship are Symetra Tour campaigner Mia Piccio, last year’s LPGT Sherwood winner Sarah Ababa, LPGT Luisita winner Cristina Corpuz, former SEA Games champion Chihiro Ikeda, and former Philippine Ladies Open champion Jayvie Agojo.
Others joining the title hunt are former Philippine Ladies Open champion Lee Jeong-hwa and fellow Koreans Kang Ji-won, Grace Lee and Gu Na-eun, Japan’s Tomoko Takahashi, Fumika Kawagishi, Ai Asano, Senno Yasufuku and Mayumi Chinzei, and Aretha Pan and Dianne Luke of Malaysia.