ALL eyes will be on in-form Yuka Saso as she goes for a second straight win in a big tournament, while Bianca Pagdanganan seeks a repeat of her record feat as the 2018 Champion Infinity Philippine Ladies Open starts on Wednesday at the Orchard Golf and Country Club in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
Looking to steal the show from the top local bets at the bunker-laden Palmer course at Orchard are players from Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Korea and Guam.
Saso will start with Singapore’s Shannon Tan, Felicia Medalla and rising star Annyka Cayabyab on No. 10, looking to flash the form she showed in dominating the country’s top pros and a slew of foreign aces in the kickoff leg of this year’s Ladies Philippine Golf Tour at Ayala Greenfield last week.
“I’m going for it. It will probably be my last year as an amateur, so I’m going all out and give it everything I got to win,” said Saso, who placed second to Princess Superal in 2016 and finished third last year.
Also among the favorites is Pagdanganan, who set a record 16-under 200 total in dominating the event at Wack Wack last year. Now with the University of Arizona, Pagdanganan opens her title-retention drive on No. 1 with Thailand’s Kultida Pramphun, Grace Quintanilla and Alexandra Etter.
Pramphun is one of the three Thai top players tipped to figure prominently in the title race with Onkanok Soisuwan kicking off her bid on No. 10 with Japanese Masaki Yamamoto, Junia Gabasa and Marianne Bustos.
Pinkaew Trachuentong, on the other hand, drew Hong Kong’s Hei Nam Leung, Liao Chia-hui of Taiwan and Jonah Ilagan.
Harmie Constantino, Sofia Legaspi, Annika Cedo, Kristine Torralba, Nicole Abelar, Sam Bruce, Laurea Duque and recent Malaysian Juniors Open champion Mikha Fortuna are also expected to contend for the title in the event supported by the Province of Cavite, Luisita Golf and Country Club, Mileage Asia, Vermogen, Golf Depot, Orchard Golf and Country Club, Alabang Ladies Chapter, Forest Hills GCC, Tagaytay Highlands, Sta. Elena Golf Club, Manila Golf Club and Canlubang GCC, TIB Taishan and The Turf Company-Texas Eagle.