TOP amateur Yuka Saso again plays against come of the best local pros and several Thai aces as the ICTSI Ayala Greenfield Ladies Challenge opens on Wednesday in Calamba, Laguna.
The 17-year-old Saso is gunning for her second pro title after winning the LPGT Eagle Ridge tournament in 2016.
Saso, winner of the Philippine Amateur Stroke and Match Play crowns last year, heads an eight-player amateur cast raring to show up and crowd the fancied pros for the crown in the 54-hole championship kicking off this year’s Ladies Philippine Golf Tour sponsored by ICTSI.
Former Junior World champion Daniella Uy is in the field along with Chanelle Avaricio, Laia Barro, Marianne Bustos, Sam Dizon, Baek Yeun Jea and the comebacking Sam Martirez.
Saso also won the World Junior Girls title and led the Philippines to the team championship in Canada in 2016.
LPGA and Symetra Tour campaigner Dottie Ardina headlines the elite cast that includes Cyna Rodriguez and Princess Superal, who also campaign in the Symetra Tour.
LPGT leg winners Chihiro Ikeda, Sarah Ababa and Korean Euna Koh are also seeing action.
Pauline del Rosario, the top money earner in the LPGT last year with four victories in her rookie season, also looks to start the new season on a winning note while raring to make up for her so-so showing in the 2017 season-ending tournament at South Forbes two weeks ago.
The Thais swept the last two legs of the just-concluded LPGT fifth season with the likes of Saraporn Chamchoi, Tiranan Yoopan, Chonlada Chayanun and former leg winners Saruttaya Ngam-usawan and Wannasiri Sirisampant all eager to follow compatriots Renuka Suksukont and Yupaporn Kawinpakorn’s victories at Philippine Ladies Masters and South Forbes, respectively.
Other Thais vying in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf are Numa Gulyanamitta, Pakpring Duangchan, Chitawadee Duangchan, Hathaikarn Wongwaikijphaisal, Jaruporn P Na Ayuttaya, Ploychompoo Wilairungrueng, Punpaka Phuntumabamrung, Sarinee Thitiratanakorn, Supakchaya Pattaranakrueng and Thanuttra Boonraksasat.