Constantino, Baraquiel lead hunt as Riviera Ladies Challenge unfolds


HARMIE CONSTANTINO and Sunshine Baraquiel set out for a second victory in the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour’s (LPGT) third restart, Chanelle Avaricio and Daniella Uy go all out for the elusive win while a crew of amateurs try to sneak into the title chase in the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) Riviera Ladies Challenge unfolding on Wednesday at the Couples course in Silang, Cavite.

Constantino held off amateur Mafy Singson and won by one at Eagle Ridge-Aoki at Tour resumption three weeks ago, four months after she launched her pro career with a two-stroke victory over multi-titled Princess Superal, also at the same venue.

And while Avaricio and Uy, along with the rest of the bidders, are all fired-up to launch their respective drives in the 54-hole event, Singson and fellow amateurs Laurea Duque, Arnie Taguines, Anna Kei Fernandez and Eagle Ace Superal are all looking to upstage the big guns for a crack at top honors.

But nobody comes into the event with as much confidence and poise as Baraquiel, who endured exacting conditions at Highlands a couple of weeks back to snatch victory, finally putting herself in the conversation after finishing no higher than seventh in her first four tournaments as a full-pledged pro this year.

The 30-year-old lady pilot worked on her long game during the break, which is key at the Couples, but maintains she doesn’t want to look ahead but expects to come out stronger this week.

“I worked on my driving during the break but I don’t have any expectations,” Baraquiel said.

But she reiterated her desire to get better and eventually get a crack at the world’s premier circuit.

“My goal is really to reach the LPGA [Ladies Professional Golf Association], so I’ll keep on working hard,” added the former Southwoods mainstay, who decided to go full-time on golf than make a career out of flying during the second respite due to the spike of coronavirus cases last March.

“Basically, I turned pro because of Covid,” Baraquiel said. “It was actually from staying at home that I realized that my heart is really in golf and not in flying.”

But Constantino, Avaricio, Uy and the likes of Marvi Monsalve, Lovelyn Guioguio, Sarah Ababa, Pamela Mariano, Apple Fudolin and Korean rookie Jane Jeong along with Sheryl Villasensio, Eva Miñoza, Majorie Pulumbarit and Florence Bisera all expect to soar this week, ensuring another spirited battle and a wild finish to the P750,000 championship.

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