FORMER Philippine Ladies Open champion Chihiro Ikeda has signed up for the second leg of the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, adding one more threat to Dottie Ardina’s bid for a second straight crown at Cangolf’s North course on Tuesday.
Ikeda, a former Southeast Asian Games gold medalist who turned pro early last year, is taking a break from her campaign in Japan to join the first-ever local women’s pro circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“I’m so glad and thankful to ICTSI for having a ladies pro tournament here in the Philippines. At least our lady pro golfers now have a tournament of their own,” said Ikeda,
The power-hitting shotmaker added that she plans to play in the other legs of the circuit to further sharpen her skills and boost her chances when she resumes her campaign in Japan.
“The ICTSI LPGT will surely help me hone my game,” said Ikeda, who is expected to enter the 54-hole tournament in top form following a 16th place finish in the LPGA Rookie Tournament.
Ardina scored a come-from-behind pro debut victory over amateur Princess Superal in last month’s inaugurals of the circuit at The Country Club.
Jayvie Agojo, another former Philippine Ladies Open winner, will look to improve on her fifth place finish at TCC, while also seeing action are Apple Fudoline, Sarah Ababa, Lovelynn Guioguio, Anya Tanpinco, Lucy Landicho, Lina de Guzman and Reb Bareng.
Also expected to vie for top honors are amateur sisters Nikki Bruce, 15, and Sam Bruce, 12, who upstaged the veterans by posting a 1-2 finish in the LPGT qualifiers at the South layout.
Superal and first leg third placer Cyna Rodriguez will skip the event as they resume their US campaign next week.
The tournament put up by ICTSI and backed by Gatorade, Sharp and Custom Clubmakers also features former Philippine Ladies Open champion Heidi Chua, Eva Miñoza, Sylvia Torres and Tracy Que along with amateurs Bernice Ilas, Harmie Constantino, Yuka Sasu, Pauline del Rosario and Sofia Chabon of the ICTSI golf squad.