BACOLOD—While top amateur Rianne Malixi looms as the marked player this week, the rest of the compact but talent-laden Ladies Philippine Golf Tour field go all out to foil her bid and fuel their respective title drive in the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic presented by MORE Power beginning today (Wednesday) at the Marapara course here.
For one, Chanelle Avaricio is hoping to turn her eagerness into a winning attack as she tries to match or surpass her three-leg victory last year with renewed enthusiasm and a battle plan needed in this kind of campaign.
“I’m super excited to have another opportunity to play the whole year. It’s my first time here at Marapara and it’s very tight, but hopefully, I’ll do well this week,” said Avaricio, who scored an ace and rallied to finish 16th in the Anvaya Cove International last month.
“I played okay at Anvaya, especially on the last day. But I didn’t do well in the Thai LPGA, so hopefully, I’ll play better,” she added, referring to her missed cut stint in Thailand last week.
But she hopes to build some confidence with a strong finish in the 54-hole LPGT championship, saying: “I need to build on my confidence, mental game and course management.”
“I don’t know my chances, to be honest, I haven’t been playing well but I’ll try to stay positive the whole week,” said Avaricio.
So will the rest of the cast, including Malixi, who is coming off a tied 13th place finish in last Sunday’s Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific Championship in Singapore.
However, the 16-year-old shotmaker is still expected to flaunt her superb shotmaking skills the way she did in her three LPGT stints last year, which she swept.
“There might be a fatigue factor heading to this event but it’s more of the conditioning and I was trained for tournaments like this so I think I’m handling it pretty well for this event,” said Malixi. “Another (LPGT) victory would mean a lot but I wont be thinking about that win, it’s more of shot-by-shot and my game plan for this course.”
“I’m not sure how my game would go (for this course). I haven’t seen it, I haven’t walked it yet, so let’s see what’s up later,” added the rising star.
Malixi and Avaricio set out for an early duel in he 9 a.m. flight with Daniella Uy.
Fellow amateur Mafy Singson is also due for a big finish after a string of so-so performances here and abroad, while Chihiro Ikeda, Harmie Constantino, Marvi Monsalve and Gretchen Villacencio are also raring to launch their respective campaigns in the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.-organized event.
Cyna Rodriguez, meanwhile, marks her return to the circuit she had dominated in its first three seasons, after a two-year hiatus, while former amateur standout Mia Piccio re-launches her campaign right on a course where she honed her talent and skills.
“I guess I’m as prepared as I can be, given my current situation,” said Piccio, a non-touring pro, whose last tournament was the ICTSI Manila Golf in 2019.
Uy, a former Junior World champion, is also in the fold, along with Sunshine Baraquiel, Pamela Mariano, Rev Alcantara and young Laurea Duque.
Other top pairings pit Constantino, Singson and Pamela Mariano at 9:20 a.m., Piccio, Rodriguez and Sarah Ababa at 8:50 a.m., and Ikeda, Monsalve and Baraquiel at 9:10 a.m., all on the first hole.