PAULINE DEL ROSARIO and Daniella Uy find the Lily Golf and Country Club course a bit shorter and conducive to low scores all week as they put premium on power in pursuit in the Party Golfers Ladies Open that kicks off in Hsinchu country in Taiwan on Wednesday.
“The course is narrow with slow and bumpy greens, a typical Taiwan course. It’s scorable if you can keep your tee shots in play and manage the greens,” said del Rosario, spearhead of a 16-player strong Ladies Philippine Tour (LPGT) contingent in the NT$4 million championship of the Ladies Professional Golfers Association of Taiwan (TLPGA). “That’s what I’ll be doing this week.”
Del Rosario is no stranger on Taiwan courses, having marked her rookie pro campaign with a victory in the TLPGA and Royal Open at the Royal Kuan-Hsi Golf Club in 2017, thus becoming the first Filipina to win on the lucrative circuit.
The four-time LPGT winner is also looking to build on her confidence following a successful campaign in the LPGA Q-School Stage II, which earned her a spot in the Q-Series for a chance at an LPGA Tour card next season.
Del Rosario drew Ho-Yu An, No. 9 in the current TLPGA Order of Merit ranking, and Thai Ornnicha Konsunthea at 7:50 a.m. on No. 1 of the undulating course carved out of a forest setting and where each hole poses a real test to the competing field, particularly the layout’s signature hole—No. 8.
Uy, the recent LPGT OOM topnotcher with three victories who placed fourth when the Philippines last competed in this event in 2019, is also relying on her long game to fuel her own title drive on the 6,211-yard layout, saying: “It’s a short course, but tight and hilly. If I make a lot of birdies then I’ll get a good score.”
The former Junior World champion clashes with Ting-Yu Chen and Meng-Chu Chen at 7:10 a.m. on the first hole.
The other Filipina bidders in the 103-player roster of the event co-sanctioned by the LPGT are Chanelle Avaricio, Florence Bisera, Harmie Constantino, Mikha Fortuna, Marvi Monsalve, Rev Alcantara, Sarah Ababa, Pamela Mariano and Chihiro Ikeda along with Koreans Seoyun Kim and Ju Young Yang and amateurs Laurea Duque, Lia Duque and Mafy Singson.
Avaricio, toughened up by her recent stint on the Epson Tour, faces TLPGA No. 7 Li-Ning Wang and top local amateur Ting-Yun Chu at 7:40 a.m. at the backside while Bisera hopes to shake off jitters in her first international stint as she tangles with Ya-An Yang and Thai Kultida Pramphun at 7:30 a.m., also on No. 10.
Fortuna, who has had a couple of title shots at an LPGT crown in her rookie pro season, hopes to put it all together this week and get into the title mix on Friday, facing amateur Annika Chen and Shiao-Yun Liu at 6:50 a.m., also on No. 10, while Singson, a two-time LPGT winner, collides with Erica Huang and TLPGA No. 14 Szu-Han Chen, also at 6:50 a.m. on No. 1.
Focus will also be on Taiwan’s top player, Ya-Chun Chang, who slugs it out with Thai Parinda Phokan and Ababa at 8:20 a.m. on No. 1, while multi-titled TLPGA campaigner and LPGA Tour veteran PK Kongkraphan opens her bid at the back against local bet Hsin Lee and (Seoyun) Kim.
Constantino, winner of the first Philippine Ladies Masters, faces locals Meng Chen Ku and Yu-Hsun Wang on No. 1 at 7 a.m., while Ikeda, a former LPGT OOM winner, trades shots with Thai Chonlada Chayanun and Taiwan’s No. 3 Cheng-Hsuan Shih at 8:10 a.m. on No. 10.
The TLPGA and the LPGT, which forged a partnership in 2015 through the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. when the ICTSI Ladies Open served as the fourth leg of the TLPGA circuit, also co-staged the inaugural Anvaya Cove Ladies International won by Bianca Pagdanganan in emphatic fashion in Morong, Bataan last February.