Superal, Constantino banner PH challenge as Luisita Ladies tees off

Priincess Superal ICTSI Luisita Ladies International

Princess Superal samples the Luisita layout in the Pro-Am.–CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

TARLAC–The ICTSI Luisita Ladies International gets off the ground on Tuesday, with Princess Superal and Harmie Constantino leading a Philippine contingent that will battle a formidable international cast at Luisita Golf Club.

Stalwarts from the LPGA of Taiwan and a handful of seasoned Thais will also be at some disadvantage playing the Robert Trent Jones-designed gem, especially at this time of year when the heat is at its peak.

“We’re more familiar with Luisita, so we’ll see how it goes,” said Superal, who is itching for redemption after floundering in the final round of the LPGT at Lake Caliraya close to two weeks ago.

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“We will definitely give it our best shot,” added Superal, who will continue to use this tournament to fine-tune her game in time for her return to Japan.

The 54-hole, $100,000 (roughly P5.7 million) championship is actually the fourth leg of the local tour where Constantino will be seeking to win a third straight title.

The petite Constantino won the last two legs in come-from-behind style, but this field will be a far superior one compared to the Caliraya and Rancho Palos Verdes stops.

Leading the international roster is Thailand’s PK Kongkraphan, a 32-year-old who is the reigning Asian Games champion and who has 23 professional victories under her belt.

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“This is a new course for me, but the conditions are similar back home,” Kongkraphan said. “So I think I can shoot a good score here.

“Luisita is a little bit shorter, so there’s a big chance to play well this week.”

There will also be Philippine first-timers in Sarina Schmidt of Germany, India’s Hitaashee Bakshi and Sneha Singh, while Koreans Seoyun Kim, Nam Eunhua and Kim are likewise out to make an early impact for the needed confidence and momentum.

Constantino also won the last time the PGT held an event at Luisita, edging Daniella Uy in sudden death last year.

Constantino kicks off her drive at 9 a.m. on No. 1 in the company of Thai Poomkaly Kanyawat and Chen Chih-Min of Taiwan, while Uy is paired with Malaysia’s Aretha Pan and Khangkhun Samaporn at 8:20 a.m., also on the first hole.