THE Ladies Philippine Golf Tour concludes its five-stage swing spread over two months in its third restart back in Tagaytay starting today (Tuesday, Dec. 14) with the compact field gearing up for another punishing week given the wind condition at Midlands.
That makes the ICTSI Midlands Ladies Classic doubly interesting with Harmie Constantino gunning for a third championship in her maiden pro campaign, and Sunshine Baraquiel, Chanelle Avaricio and Daniella Uy setting out for a follow-up to their breakthrough wins at Highlands, Couples and Langer courses, respectively.
Constantino, who swept the two Eagle Ridge-Aoki legs in March and last month but got thwarted at Highlands and Riviera, has opted to tone down expectations, expressing her concerns more on learning and making the most of the chances in the next three days of the P750,000 championship held under the bubble setup.
“I have no expectations. But it’s been fun getting to play competitively and honestly, there’s been a lot of lessons to learn so I’m just hoping to play well and enjoy the last tournament of the year,” said Constantino, who has flourished in her first crack the pro circuit, humbling Princess Superal no less at Aoki last March and edging amateur Mafy Singson by one last month.
Baraquiel, on the other hand, hopes to sweep the Tagaytay legs of the circuit put up by ICTSI after ruling the Highlands stop and realizing a dream win the way Avaricio and Uy did at the Couples and Langer courses, respectively.
“It’s the last tournament for the year, so I’ll do my best to finish strong,” said Baraquiel, seeking to produce the same toughness in putting up a pair of gutsy 72s in the last two rounds to prevail at Highlands.
Avaricio, who dominated the Riviera Couples leg by seven shots over Constantino and Chihiro Ikeda, braces for a tougher, exacting challenge on a course which also puts premium on mental toughness.
“I think it will be very windy,” said Avaricio. “So, I’ll try to get into the tournament with a good mentality.”
Uy, meanwhile, is keen on staying focused while hoping to sustain the momentum of her fine performance in the equally daunting Langer in an attempt to close out the season with back-to-back victories.
“My game plan is basically the same as last week. Stay focused and have fun,” said Uy. “Hopefully, I would be able to win again.”
But Marvi Monsalve, Florence Bisera, Pamela Mariano, Apple Fudolin and Korean Jane Jeong are pulling out all the stops to nail the elusive first win in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
With Rianne Malixi spicing up the cast along with fellow amateur Laurea Duque and Keen Puzon, the title chase could head to a thriller of a finish the way it was when Midlands last hosted an LPGT event in 2019.
Ikeda birdied the closing par-5 hole to force a playoff then foiled Pauline del Rosario on the second sudden death hole to snare the crown.
But the Fil-Japanese, who placed solo second or shared runner-up honors in the past four tournaments, won’t be around to defend her crown as she headed straight to Davao after Riviera for the holidays, along with Singson, who swept the last four low amateur honors, while pro Gretchen Villacencio has begged off to honor a previous commitment.