LUBAO, Pampanga – Team Southeast Asia dominated Team Pradera in the first day of the Pradera Ladies Challenge, including a convincing 4-1 romp in four-ball to seize a huge 7-3 lead at the Pradera Golf and Country Club on Sunday.
The visiting squad, composed of national players of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, stamped its class in the five morning four-ball matches, winning the first two, dropping the next before taking the last two.
It then held sway in the afternoon foursomes, hacking out a 3-2 triumph to race to a four-point lead in the first-ever Ryder Cup-style event pitting the country’s top amateurs against their regional counterparts.
“I was surprised on how well our girls played in the morning. But we changed some pairs in the afternoon. Although they struggled at first, they were able to settle down at the turn and I’m happy it turned out well,” said Phunumpa Pornperapan, one of the two skippers of Team SEA in the event put up by Archen Cayabyab and Lubao Mayor Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab in consultation with coach Norman Sto. Domingo.
Thai teen star Atthaya Thitikul, runner-up in last Friday’s Philippine Ladies Open, took charge for Team SEA’s opening day romp, teaming up with Winnie Ng of Malaysia in a 3&2 win over Bernice Ilas and Nicole Abelar in four-ball then partnering with Kan Bunnabodee in another 3&2 victory over Pau Del Rosario and Annyka Cayabyab in foursomes.
Despite the early setback, Team Pradera remained defiant.
“My girls are still adjusting. Most of them are tired since they are not so used to playing 36 holes in one day. Definitely I would change the lineup tomorrow (today) but I will stick with those who clicked,” said Team Pradera co-skipper and two-time LPGA winner Jennifer Rosales.
Tomi Arejola rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th to spike their 2-up victory with Abby Arevalo over Tunrada Piddon and Napaghach Boon-in that made it 2-3 in the afternoon play.
In morning play, Soisuwan and Oon went 3-up after nine holes and rolled to a 6&5 rout of Arejola and Mika Arroyo then Fortuna and Legaspi broke the early spell with a 3&2 victory over Wong and Binti Azhar before Piddon and also posted a 3&1 victory over del Rosario and Cayabyab.
Piddon highlighted their win with an ace on No. 2 using a Srixon 7-iron and a Titleist ProV1 ball and won a IPhone7 courtesy of Mayor Pineda-Cayabyab.
Thai Natasha Oon and Ng subdued Mikha Fortuna and Nicole Abelar, 2&1, at the start of the foursomes but Sofia Chabon and Bernice Ilas ripped Qistina Azhar of Malaysia and Michela Tjan of Indonesia, 7&6, before Onkanok Soisuwan and Geraldine Wong ran away with a 6&5 win over Missy Legaspia and Mika Arroyo.
The same format will be played today (Monday) with the deciding singles, featuring 10 matches, set tomorrow. The team to score 15.5 points will take the perpetual Pradera trophy, according to the organizing Forthinker, Inc., headed by chairman Marilen Nunez.