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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Avaricio seeks to extend LPGT run at Eagle Ridge

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Chanelle Avaricio expects to come out better and stronger three weeks after logging her third win in five Ladies Philippine Golf Tour events, targeting another top podium finish in the ICTSI Eagle Ridge at Aoki Invitational unfolding July 5 at the Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club complex in Gen. Trias, Cavite.

Chanelle Avaricio

Opting to pass up a planned sortie in the US, Avaricio worked on her game during the break, focusing on her iron play and putting, thus making her ready for another crack at the crown in the 54-hole championship serving as the seventh leg of this year’s circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and held simultaneously with the men’s tour.

“I’ve learned a lot at Pradera (Verde), especially on shots that I needed to do (in necessary situations),” said Avaricio after romping off with a six-stroke victory over Sarah Ababa and Chihiro Ikeda at Pradera, whose sleek surface likewise brought out the best in the former Alabama State U mainstay.

“I was able to learn on how to play on Pradera’s greens, which are very fast. And I hope to keep on improving – and produce more wins,” she added.

But Eagle Ridge’s Aoki, one of the four championship courses inside the sprawling golf complex, is more than a test of putting with challenges and dangers abound in almost every corner of the long but well-maintained layout, especially if the winds come into play in all three days.

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That should make the rest of the compact 16-player field wary but motivated to prick Avaricio’s bubble, including Ikeda, Ababa, Pamela Mariano, Marvi Monsalve, Florence Bisera, Gretchen Villacencio and rookies Martina Miñoza and Lesley Icoy.

While last year’s Tagaytay Highlands leg winner Sunshine Baraquiel, who also tied for second at Mt. Malarayat last May, won’t be around to train in the US, Harmie Constantino is back on a course so dear to her, having nailed two victories at Aoki on her way to snaring the Order of Merit title in her rookie season last year.

But the former national champion’s game somewhat took a downswing this season. She struggled to finish tied for eighth in the kickoff leg at Luisita ruled by amateur Rianne Malixi, settled for third place at Hallow Ridge, ended up joint fourth at Caliraya Springs, placed third again at Mt. Malarayat.

But her joint second place effort at Splendido Taal should all the more bolster her drive at the par-72 Isao Aoki-designed course, where she humbled multi-titled Princess Superal by two in her debut in March 2021 and reigned again, this time over amateur Mafy Singson, when the LPGT returned in November.

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