Team Phl kicks off Sirikit title drive  

MANILA, Philippines – Team Philippines drew a late tee-time but hopes to come up with a fast start for the needed momentum and confidence as they open their bid in the 37th Queen Sirikit Cup today at the Hong Kong Golf Club’s New Course in Fanling.


A series of tournaments leading to this week’s competition has toughened up and primed up Princess Superal, Pauline del Rosario and Yuka Saso for the big event with the troika trying to end the country’s long quest for the Asia-Pacific Ladies golf team championship that has eluded it for years.


Dottie Ardina, now campaigning in the Symetra Tour in the US, nearly anchored Team Phl to the coveted crown when she ruled the individual competition in 2011 in New Delhi but failed to draw the needed back-up from Chihiro Ikeda and Jayvie Agojo as they fell short by four to the powerhouse Korean side and settled for second.


But coach Bong Lopez is upbeat of his wards’ chances although he stressed the need to come up with a solid start and at least match the expected early surge of title favorites South Korea and Australia.


“The girls are confident and in high spirits. But they need a strong start given the depth of the competing field,” said Lopez, also the man at the helm of the ICTSI-The Country Club amateur golf program.


Superal, who has won four tournaments the last three months, will start at 9:45 a.m. with New Zealand’s Julianne Alvarez and Singapore’s Sock Hwee Koh, hoping to put together a solid game and provide the spark for the squad sent here by the Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines and chief backer International Container Terminal Services, Inc.


Del Rosario, also in top form coming off a victory in Malaysia last month, will play along Kiwi Wenyung Keh and Singapore’s Jen Goh at 9:55 a.m. while Saso drew Munchin Keh of New Zealand and Amanda Tan of Singapore in the last flight at 10:05 a.m. when playing condition at the tight layout is expected to get tougher and more challenging.


Thailand, the country’s perennial regional rival, is also tipped to contend for this year’s crown together with Japan and China. The Thais drew the Aussies and Chinese in the featured group while Korea and Japan are paired with Malaysia.