TEAM Southeast Asia fended off Team Pradera’s charge in the afternoon foursomes to carry a six-point lead into the final-day singles matches in the Pradera Ladies Challenge at the Pradera Golf and Country Club in Lubao, Pampanga.
Southeast Asia halved the five points in the afternoon foursomes with the Pradera squad after taking 3-½ of the five available points in the morning four-ball.
That pushed Team Southeast Asia ahead, 13-7, in the Ryder Cup-style event, needing just two wins and a draw in Tuesday’s 10 singles match to bag the title featuring some of the region’s top young female golfers.
“Our selection is really stronger. Team Pradera did not have much to choose from that’s probably why we are better than them,” said Team SEA co-captain Phunumpa Pornperapan, whose squad boasts of national players from Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Thai Atthaya Thitikul, 13, nailed her fourth straight win as she teamed up with Malaysian Geraldine Wong to post a 4 and 2 triumph over Nicole Abelar and Mika Arroyo in four-ball then partnered with Kan Bunnabodee to beat Missy Legaspi and Mika Arroyo in foursomes, 4 and 3.
Thai Onkanok Soisuwan and Geraldine Wong then held off Mikha Fortuna and Annyka Cayabyab, 2-up, before the Nicole Abelar-Tomi Arejola and Bernice Ilas-Sofia Chabon tandems pulled off a 3 and 2 and 2-up victories over Thais Tunrada Piddon- Napaghach Boon-in and Malaysians Natasha Oon-Winnie Ng for Team Pradera.
Pau Del Rosario and Abby Arevalo fought to an all-square match with Michela Tjan of Indonesia and Malaysian Qistina Azhar to split the afternoon duel.
While stressing the need to draw more quality games from her lead players, Team Pradera co-skipper Jennfier Rosales remains hopeful of a miraculous comeback in the singles.
“I’ll put my strongest in the first five pairings. We’re too far behind and we need to pile up points early,” said the winner of two LPGA Tour events.
Team SEA, bannered by the national players of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, took charge early with a 4-1 win in four-ball early Sunday then hacked out a 3-2 win in the afternoon foursomes to seize a 7-3 lead in the opener.
Piddon and Tjan routed Arevalo and Arejola, 6 and 4, in the second match while Bunnabodee, also from Thailand, and Oon beat Del Rosario and Legaspi, 3 and 2, in the fifth pairing.
Cayabyab, 12, and Fortuna delivered the lone full point for the hosts with a 2 and 1 win over Boon-in and Ng while Chabon and Ilas forced an all-square match with Soisuwan and Azhar in the third group for Team Pradera’s measly 1 1/2-point morning out in the event put up by Archen Cayabyab and Lubao Mayor Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab in consultation with coach Norman Sto. Domingo and organized by Forthinker Inc., headed by chairman Marilen Nunez.