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Ikeda on attack mode

While all look to rousing head-to-head duels, two of the leading contenders in the women’s side of the ICTSI Villamor Match Play Invitational will opt for different approaches when the novel event fires off Tuesday, 15 November at the Villamor Golf Club in Pasay.

“Unlike in regular tournaments, my mindset for the match play will be more on attack and attack to net more birdies,” said Chihiro Ikeda, the Order of Merit winner in the just-concluded Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.

But she elects to downplay her chances in such kind of an unpredictable setup, saying: “No expectations, no pressure. But I would just like to enjoy the game since it will surely be an exciting match play.”

With 16 of the top finishers after 11 legs of this LPGT all driven to emerge on top on 18 November in a format so distinct in medal play, no one indeed holds an edge over the other.

“I’ve always enjoyed this format since anything can happen,” said Sunshine Baraquiel, who scored a career breakthrough in wicked conditions at Highlands last year.

“My performance this year wasn’t great,” she added.

“Golf is really a long game and each player’s journey is different. There are improvements from last year but the results aren’t there yet.”

The lady pilot, however, hopes to end it in triumphant fashion.

“What’s great about match play is you get to re-start on each hole. Strategies will change depending on my opponent and the way I’m hitting the ball for the day,” Baraquiel said. “The approach is different just because the total score doesn’t count. The decision to play conservatively will really depend on match standing and opponent shots.”

Joining Ikeda and Baraquiel in the hunt for top honors worth P280,000 are Harmie Constantino, Sarah Ababa, Pamela Mariano, Gretchen Villacencio, Marvi Monsalve, Lovelyn Guioguio, Apple Fudolin, Eva Miñoza, Lucy Landicho, Kristine Fleetwood, Florence Bisera, Martina Miñoza and Sheryl Villasencio.

Three-leg winner Chanelle Avaricio, who placed third behind Ikeda and Constantino in the money race, won’t be around as she left for the United States to resume her bid in the LPGA Q-School Stage II set next week in Florida.

The event, put up by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc., will be held simultaneously with the men’s championship with two-leg PGT winner Guido Van der Valk and three-leg runner Tony Lascuña heading the 32-player field, also vying for the top P280,000 purse.

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