ICTSI Champion Tour blasts off at Southwoods

ICTSI Champion Tour blasts off at Southwoods

Saruttaya Ngam-usawn

CARMONA, Cavite, Philippines — The ICTSI Champion Tour kicks off its two-week swing here at Manila Southwoods with the crack international field, led by the fancied Thais and Taiwanese, putting premium on shot selection as they slug it out for top honors in wet condition in the $75,000 event starting today here.

Rains spawned by Typhoon Henry have softened up the fairways and the greens but the all-weather Legends layout remains ready for the 54-hole tournament that drew some of the leading players of the Taiwan LPGA Tour and the cream of the local pro crop.

“The course is so great even in this kind of weather,” said Saruttaya Ngam-usawn, one of a slew of Thais tipped to contend for the $15,000 top purse in the blue-ribbon event sponsored by ICTSI. “It’s easy because they have forwarded the pins.”

The winner of the Royal Northwoods leg of the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour in 2016 is actually fighting off flu-like symptoms but remained upbeat of her chances against a stellar cast that includes bidders from Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and the US.

Taiwanese Lee Hsin and Chen Min-Jou, the Nos. 2 and 3 players, respectively, in the current TLPGA Order of Merit ranking, and No. 9 Lin Tzu-chi, and Thais Saranporn Langkulgasettrin and Renuka Suksukont, winners of the first two Phl Ladies Masters, banner the star-studded field in the TLPGA Tour-sanctioned event also serving as the 10th leg of the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

LPGT leg winners Yupaporn Kawinpakorn, Onkanok Soisuwan, Wannasiri Sirisampant and Supakchaya Pattaranakrueang also exude confidence as they seek another title crack in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZGm PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.