Pinays aim high in LPGT Taiwan

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    MIAOLI County, Taiwan. – Five Filipinas drew starts in sequence, each ready to slug it out with some familiar faces and new rivals making up the crack LPGA Tour of Taiwan (TLPGA) roster at the start of the Party Ladies Golfers Open at the National Golf and Country Club here Wednesday.

    The Ladies Philippine Golf Tour co-sanctioned this $100,000 event with TLPGA last year, the former’s first tournament abroad as part of Pilipinas Tournament, Inc.’s commitment to develop and boost Philippine ladies pro golf, although the then five-player group wavered in the end with Princess Superal ending up tied for 16th after crowding the leaders with a 70 start.

    Pauline del Rosario, Cyna Rodriguez, Daniella Uy, Marvi Monsalve and rookie pro Chanelle Avaricio all expressed confidence while stressing the need to come up with a strong start on the rolling layout with reachable par-5s but with tough putting surface where the title chase could be decided on Friday.

    Del Rosario is first to set out at 9 a.m. on No. 1, with the former three-time LPGT Order of Merit champion facing off with local amateur Fei-Chien Yang and  Korean Hwang Min-Jeong, a familiar rival back home who actually won the last LPGT leg at Summit Point in Lipa City, Batangas last August.

    Rodriguez tees off 9:20 a.m. with Ching Ling Chang of Taiwan and Wannasiri Sirisampant, also a former LPGT winner and one of the Thai aces tipped to contend in the 54-hole championship which also serves as the final leg of the busy seventh season of LPGT, which featured four other TLPGA co-sanctioned tournaments, including the inaugural The Country Club Invitational which headed by no less than former world No. 1 Sung Hyun Park of South Korea.

    Uy, who failed to break par with 77-74-73 and wound up tied at 45th here last year, is also raring to go against Thai veteran Saraporn Chamchoi and Taiwanese Hsin Lee, the No. 6 ranked player in the current TLPGA OOM standings.

    Avaricio also seeks to turn in an inspiring start to a new career, his confidence toughened by a stint in the recent LPGA Qualifying School. She plays Thai Ornnicha Konsunthea and Taiwanese Yi-Ching Wu at 9:50 a.m. before Monsalve launches her drive next at 10 a.m. in the company of Thais Supakchaya Pattaranakrueng, also a former LPGT leg winner, and Pattaraporn Mounchoo.

    But the Taiwanese are all set to keep their reign here after amateur Chia-Yen Wu humbled the elite field to win by one over Babe Liu last year with Tzu Chi Lin shooting for a third straight TLPGA romp after topping the NanYi Pro Ladies Open and the Kenda Tire TLPGA Open the last three weeks.

    Others in the fold are No. 5 Hsuan Chen, No. 7 Yu-Ling Hsieh, No. 8 Ching Ling Chang, No. 9 Szu-Han Chen, No. 10 Chia-Pei Lee, No. 11 Ching Huang, another former LPGT leg titlist, and the 15-year-old Wu.