THE Pradera Golf Club, the newest, gem of a course in Lubao, Pampanga, has been spruced up to championship condition and is ready to challenge the field clashing in the first-ever Pradera Ladies Golf Challenge on January 15-17.
The Ryder Cup-style format event pits top Filipino junior and amateurs players against their counterparts from Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia with the perpetual Pradera trophy going to the first team to score 15.5 points in four-ball, best ball and singles matches.
“The golf course is 100 percent ready and the driving range is fully operational,” said Norman Sto. Domingo, personal coach of prodigy Annyka Pineda-Cayabyab, whose grandparents own the Mike Singgaran-designed course which sits on the 700-hectare Pradera Verde in Barangay Prado Siongco.
While the par-72 layout is relatively flat, Sto. Domingo said it remains challenging with its bunkers and hazards coming into play in almost all holes as well as its sloping long fairways and big, undulating greens.
“It's flat but there are so many bunkers and lots of water hazards. It can bring out the best and the worst from each player, especially if the wind comes into play,” said Archen Cayabyab, who with Lubao Mayor Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab conceptualized the first-ever Phl-SEA duel.
Pauline del Rosario, one of the spearheads of Team Pradera Philippines, considers Pradera GC as unique and one of a kind.
“It’s looks flat but it’s not when you begin to play. It’s certainly a great golf course,” said Del Rosario, who will be coming into the event in top form, having swept her last three tournaments in 2016 in Malaysia and Singapore. “The greens are also very challenging.”
Del Rosario and the 12-year-old Cayabyab, a five-time world junior champion and youngest Most Outstanding Kapampangan awardee, will be joined in Team Pradera Phl by The Country Club stalwarts Mikha Fortuna, Sofia Chabon, Bernice Ilas and Abby Arevalo, along with Mika Arroyo, Nicole Abelar, Tomi Arejola and Missy Legaspi.
Jennifer Rosales adds prestige to the event as the two-time LPGA Tour champion will be one of Team Pradera’s skippers along with Chona de la Paz of The Junior Golfers League and Rolly Romero of National Golf Association of the Philippines.
Thai teen star Attaya Thitikul banners 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.
After hosting the Phl-SEA Ladies Golf Challenge, Pradera GC will be staging a number of junior and amateur tournaments on top of local and international pro events, according to Sto. Domingo.