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CHASE FOR GOLD — Ardina, 3 other Pinays, go after the bounty in El Dorado


‘At the end of the day it’s just golf.’

HAVING tasted victory early on, 20-year-old rookie Nataliya Guseva is out to get the gold in El Dorado. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF

Dottie Ardina returns to the Epson Tour this weekend when she competes along with three other Filipinas in the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout starting Friday in El Dorado, Arkansas.

The 29-year-old Ardina, whose last five tournaments was in the top-tier LPGA, will go back to the $225,000 tournament slated at Mystic Creek Golf Club.

Joining her in the hunt are Clariss Guce, Pauline del Rosario and Abby Arevalo.

Lately, Ardina has been struggling with consistency which she badly needs to secure a card in the main tour.

“A night and day performance,” Ardina wrote on her Instagram account. “At the end of the day it’s just golf.”

She was referring to her performance during the recent Kroger Queen City where she opened with a 66 then shot 74 in the next day. Third round she carded 80, before finishing the tournament with a 69.

Guce placed tied for fifth last year in El Dorado, while Ardina shared 17th place. Arevalo tied for 53rd that time.

One of the golfers to watch in Arkansas is sensational Russian rookie Nataliya Guseva.

The biggest mover in the Race for the Card standings over the past two weeks, Guseva is following her win at the Black Desert Resort Championship and collecting the biggest winner’s check in Epson Tour history.

Guseva tied for third at the Guardian Championship. In her last six rounds played, the 20-year-old has not recorded a round over 68 and has moved to No. 8 in the Race for the Card.

Three weeks ago, Guseva was battling to get into the top 35 to grab a spot for the 2023 LPGA Q-Series. With a win, she can become the second player of the year to clinch their LPGA Tour card for the 2024 season.

Also among the favorites is Jiwon Jeon. She is one of three players on the Epson Tour who have won multiple times during the 2023 season, taking home trophies at the Inova Mission Inn Resort & Club Championship and the French Lick Resort Charity Classic.

Jeon is currently No. 3 in the Race for the Card, and with a top-60 finish or better, Jeon will be a member of the LPGA Tour next season.

Outside of her two wins, Jeon collected a top-5 finish at the Hartford HealthCare Women’s Championship and has only missed one cut in her 2023 season. After a week off, Jeon heads into Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, ready to lock in her place on the LPGA Tour for her 2024 campaign.

Robyn Choi is also among those picked to win. She has had one of the best seasons from any player this year, even though she is not currently in the top 10 for the Race for the Card.

Choi is first in rounds in the 60s, third in birdies made, seventh in top-10 finishes, and eighth in scoring average in 2023. The 25-year-old is playing the most consistent golf of anyone on the Epson Tour, making 18 out of 18 cuts so far this season.

The worst finish for Choi came in the first event of the season at Florida’s Natural Charity Classic, where she finished T46. Now, sitting at No. 16 in the Race for the Card standings with three events left to play, Choi will need to put together a big week to jump into the top 10 where her stats indicate she can be.

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