PAULINE del Rosario and Yuka Saso lead the players looking to keep the title at home as the Philippine Ladies Open Golf Championship 2017 tees off next week at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club’s West Course.
Princess Superal ended the foreign bets’ four-year domination of the tournament last season, scoring a one-stroke victory over Del Rosario and Saso last year as the visitors struggled in the wind-raked Tagaytay Midlands layout.
Korean Lee Jeong Hwa topped the 2012 edition at Southwoods before the Thais swept the last three, including back-to-back wis by Supamas Sangchan at Mt. Malarayat and Forest Hills , while Pimnipa Panthong took the 2015 crown at Wack Wack.
The tournament features players from Thailand, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore and the US.
Del Rosario, who leads Team The Country Club, won three titles in Malaysia and Singapore late last year.
Saso, meanwhile, ran away with the individual crown while leading the Philippines to the team championship in the third World Junior Girls in Canada last September.
The 16-year-old Saso capped her sterling 2016 campaign with a victory on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour at Eagle Ridge.
Other locals tipped to contend for the championship are reigning national champion Harmie Constantino, also a member of that champion World Junior team and winner at LPGT Mt. Malarayat, Abby Arevalo, Bernice Ilas, Mikha Fortuna and Sofia Chabon of TCC, World Junior team member Sofia Legaspi, Mikaela Arroyo, Sam Bruce, Annyka Cayabyab, Bianca Pagdanganan, Diana Araneta and Felicia Medalla.
Teen golfer Atthaya Thithikul heads a three-player Thailand side that includes Napabhach Boon-In and Tunrada Piddon while Singapore is fielding in a nine-player delegation in the Open category headed by Faldo Series campaigners Denise Wong and Jaqueline Young, and Taiwan will be led by Jennifer Chi Wu, Lili Hsu and Lanfen Hsieh.
Ninety three players have so far confirmed their participation in the event backed by Lexus, Metro Pacific Investments, Cranuti, Texas Eagle, San Miguel Corp., Botanika, Enclave, Taishan Insurance Broker's Inc., Inquirer, Cherrylume, Alveo, Manila Golf, G&W Clubshares, Alabang Ladies Golf Chapter, Canlubang Golf Club, Forest Hills Golf Club, Sta. Elena Golf Club, Tagaytay Higlands, Gatorade, Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, Vermogen, Atty. Gilberto Duavit and Water World Trading Inc.