THE 51st Southern Ladies Open presented by the MVP Sports Foundation fires off on Wednesday at challenging Apo Golf in Davao, with the multi-titled Princess Superal installed as the solid pick to dominate the event for the third straight year.
Coming off a scintillating triumph in the US Girls Junior championship in Arizona less than three weeks ago, the 16-year-old Superal will be gunning for another rare achievement this week in the event forming part of the PLDT Group Amateur Tour.
Listed as her chief threats are teammates from the rock-solid The Country Club stable headed by the up-and-coming Abegail Arevalo, Fil-Japanese Yuka Saso, Sofia Chabon and Sam Martirez.
The team, coached by swing guru Bong Lopez, arrived in Davao on Sunday morning and immediately turned in two practice rounds to get a feel of the tree-lined course that stands as one of the toughest tests of golf in the country.
Bets coming from some of the most exclusive clubs in the country like Harmie Constantino and Junia Gabasa also made the trip to Davao to try and spoil Superal’s three-peat quest.
Caloy Coscoluella, president of the organizing National Golf Association of the Philippines, has personally inspected the course and will set it up to near-international standards.
Aside from its bending fairways and thick roughs, the Apo layout will measure over 6,000 yards. International pro events for ladies are less than 400 yards longer.
Superal nipped Mexican national champion Marijosse Navarro in Flagstaff, Arizona to become the first Philippine-born player to win a USGA event, a feat that makes her the most successful amateur of her generation.
The awards night will be held on Friday at Casino Filipino-Davao, which is also a major backer of the event.