Thai champ back as Women’s Championship unfolds

Yupaporn Kawinpakorn takes crack at a tough field made up of fellow Thai campaigners, a couple of Korean aces and a slew of local bets, confident but wary of her chances for a title repeat in The Women’s Championship at Summit Point unfolding today in Lipa City, Batangas.

The veteran campaigner, who anchored the Thais’ six-title haul in last year’s edition of the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour with two victories, has vowed to better her winning 10-under total as she faces a souped-up roster in the 54-hole championship on a course that features 18 of the world’s renowned golf holes.

Yupaporn Kawinpakorn
Yupaporn Kawinpakorn

“I expect to score at least four-under each day but I need to hit more greens to do it,” said the former Philippine Amateur Open winner at The Country Club. “But for sure, I will give my best to defend my crown.”

Kawinpakorn held off Asian Games team gold medalist Lois Kaye Go in the final round to win by three in a big follow-up to her title romp at Beverly Place last year but the 27-year-old shotmaker will be in for a tougher challenge this week from among compatriots Nemittra Juntanaket, Sangkagaro Pimpadsorn, Ajira Nualraksa and Tiranan Yoopan, Koreans Hwang Min-Jeong and Kang Dayun and Pinays Chihiro Ikeda, Cyna Rodriguez, Marvi Monsalve and club bet Gretchen Villacencio.

Juntanaket, for one, is out to make it two-in-row after ruling the Mount Malarayat Ladies Classic last week with Pimpadsorn and Nualraksa raring to score a breakthrough in the country’s premier circuit put up by ICTSI and Yoopan also back in the circuit and due for a big win.

Hwang has also vowed to go all-out this week after struggling in the first two days at Mount Malarayat as she bids for a second crown after nailing topping the Splendido leg last January to launch her pro career while Ikeda and Rodriguez hope to cash in on whatever home advantage they enjoy and foil another foreign domination in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

Eagle Ace Superal, the low amateur last week at Mt. Malarayat, is also tipped to contend along with fellow amateurs with Annyka Cayabyab, Mafy Singson, Nicole Abelar, Samantha Bruce, Samantha Dizon, Samantha Martirez, Laurea Duque, Arnie Taguines and Korean Kwon Taeyon.

But the Thais remain the top favorites to dominate the P750,000 event serving as the penultimate leg of the 12-stage seventh season of the circuit backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Empire Golf and Sports and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc.