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Singson-Duque duel to spice up LPGT Riviera chase

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MAFY Singson and Laurea Duque, who stirred up play at the Couples course last week, look to take their rivalry to the next level, not only for the amateur honors but also for the ICTSI Riviera Ladies Championship crown beginning tomorrow (Wednesday, Dec. 1) in Silang, Cavite.

The hazard-laden Langer course will serve as a fitting venue for two of the country’s rising stars to test their skills as they sharpen and toughen up for various international competitions in the upcoming new season. The duo, along with Arnie Taguines, Eagle Ace Superal and Anna Fernandez, have been providing a refreshing challenge to the touring ladies of the Philippine Golf Tour in the pandemic-hit season.

Singson, in fact, has crowded the pros for the top podium finish in the last three Ladies PGT tournaments held in bubble setup but has been unsuccessful with shaky stretch-run performances. She placed second at Eagle Ridge-Aoki, ended up fifth at Highlands and tied for fourth at Riviera-Couples.

Duque, the low amateur at Aoki last March, also put herself in strong contention at Couples but reeled back with two backside bogeys. She also blew the lead in the battle for low amateur honors on a closing double-bogey and ended up sixth, enabling Singson to extend her domination of the ranks for the third straight tournament.

But the pro crown looks so enticing for the pair and the rest although they will not only be facing an equally fired-up pro cast but a Langer layout, kept in championship form all-year long, ready to test not only their shotmaking skills and putting but also their mental toughness.

“We’re still in the bubble, so I can’t go out to practice. But I guess I’ll just do workout and stretching and get enough rest,” said Singson, bracing for a grueling three-day battle of wits and endurance at one of the country’s toughest championship courses.

Despite her last-hole mishap at Couples, Duque said she’s enjoying top form, which she expects to flaunt this week for another crack at a first overall championship.  

“I’m really playing well,” she said. “Let’s just see where it takes.”

The compact pro field is also all primed up for another tough grind with Chanelle Avaricio seeking to complete a sweep of the Riviera titles and the likes of Harmie Constantino, Chihiro Ikeda and Sunshine Baraquiel raring to fuel their respective title drive with strong starts.

Marvi Monsalve, Daniella Uy, Florence Bisera and Korean Jane Jeong, on the other hand, also set out to join Avaricio as first-time winner in the ICTSI-sponsored circuit that has kept the touring ladies busy coming into the holidays with the last tournament, the ICTSI Midlands Classic, slated on Dec. 14-16 back in Tagaytay.

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