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LPGT’s finest start ICTSI Caliraya title chase

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CAVINTI, Laguna—In a rare gathering of the biggest names in women’s pro golf, including five former Order of Merit winners a nd a host of rising stars, the ICTSI Caliraya Springs Championship gets going today (Tuesday, April 9), promising an electrifying showcase of skill and strategy at the Caliraya Springs Golf Club here.

Leading the pack are Sarah Ababa and Harmie Constantino, who split the titles in the first two legs of this year’s Ladies Philippine Golf Tour in Davao, both eyeing another championship. But their quest for glory is set against a backdrop of intense competition, notably with the return of last year’s top player Daniella Uy, defending champion Pauline del Rosario and former US Girls’ Junior titlist Princess Superal.

The field is further enriched by the presence of multi-titled Chanelle Avaricio, last year’s South Pacific leg winner Florence Bisera and Match Play titlist Mikha Fortuna, setting the stage for an unpredictable week in the event where there are no clear favorites and every player a potential champion.

“I don’t have too many expectations. I’ll just play my game and do my best,” said Bisera. “After all, we’ve all practiced and are all ready for this tournament.”

With 2016 OOM champion Chihiro Ikeda and title-hungry Marvi Monsalve, Pamela Mariano, Apple Fudolin, Kristine Fleetwood, Lucy Landicho, Miya Legaspi and Korean Seoyun Kim, who finished runner-up to del Rosario last year, the P1 million championship sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. is poised for a dramatic start and an even more spectacular conclusion on Thursday.

Adding depth to the competition are former national team standouts Mafy Singson and Lois Kaye Go, along with a cadre of promising talents like Laurea Duque, Velinda Castil, Annika Cedo and Rev Alcantara. Amateur Kayla Nocum is also ready to spring a surprise, guaranteeing a fiercely-contested 54-hole tournament supported by PGTI’s official apparel Kampfortis Golf.

All attention, however, is riveted on del Rosario, who returns from a fine start on the Epson Tour, where she not only made the cut in her first three tournaments of the season but also secured a Top 10 finish in the IOA Golf Classic.

“I’m just trying to bring that confidence and momentum moving forward,” said del Rosario, who aims to break into the Top 15 by season’s end to clinch an LPGA card.

She is also determined to carry her momentum into the local circuit whenever her schedule allows.

“If I’m home, I will definitely look forward to playing local events,” she said.

Superal, a dominant force in the LPGT before her international ventures, including a stint on the Japan Step Up Tour, is equally anticipated to make a significant impact. With upcoming events in Ishikawa and Saga, a strong performance this week could be a crucial confidence-booster for the 2022 Asia Pacific Cup winner.

As Uy seeks redemption from a joint seventh place finish at Apo and a return to form after an injury, and Avaricio aims to reclaim her top position after winning three LPGT titles in 2022, including here at Caliraya Springs, the event is set for a thrilling finish.

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