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Ardina joins hunt for Ladies' Open crown

CARMONA, Cavite—Dottie Ardina’s achievement case is full of trophies, plaques and medals. But every time she walks pass by it, she tells herself that there is something missing.

And then she remembers. “Would it be nice to have the Philippine Ladies’ Amateur Open title there, too?”

Well, the little girl, who is just 15 years and barely standing a diminutive five feet, is eager to make a big splash in the premier Open for amateurs starting on Wednesday at the Legends course of the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club here.

Ever since she began competing in the Open, Ardina has never been successful in hoisting the coveted trophy. She was nine years old when she first competed and placed at 18th. She kept on improving in the succeeding years. Hopefully, she’ll make it this time.

“It will be a dream come true. I have been trying for five years now. I have had numerous victories abroad like in Malaysia, Singapore and the US, but never the Ladies’ Open. I’m going all out for it,” said a jolly Ardina, who is a member of the International Container Terminal Services Inc. golf team.

To stress how serious she is, Ardina, who maintains an ICTSI scholarship at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy at IMG Academy in Florida, actually turned down an invitation to play in an Annika Sorenstam-sponsored tournament which coincides with the schedule of the Open.

But to get through the competition, she’ll have to defeat defending champion and ICTSI teammate Chihiro Ikeda, Anya Tanpinco, Louise Manalo, Meraykel Embalzado and Sheryl Villavicencio.

Ardina will also have to contend with a host of international players, including Indonesia’s Ines Putri Chandra, Dita Widyanatri and Victory Chandra Tjiong, Lilibeth de Rossi and Jenny Park of the US, Koreans JI Hyun Lee, Ji Yeon Li, So Won Lee and Jeong Hwa Lee.

“There’ll be no bad blood between me and ICTSI players. It will be a healthy competition among us,” also said the Laguna native Ardina, who is regularly practicing at Manila Southwoods as she prepares for the big event.

She explained that her overall game, from tee to green, is fine but she needs to get accustomed to the moderately fast greens of the par-72 Legends layout.

“The greens are very different here compared to Canlubang Golf Club where I usually play. That’s why I’m thankful to coach Bong [Lopez] for giving us the opportunity to play at Southwoods. With experience, there’s a big chance to win,” she said.

Other players to watch in the centerpiece championship division are Southwoods’ Sunshine Baraquiel, Cangolf’s Lucy Landicho, Eva Miñoza and Kristine Leonin of Del Monte, Beverly Mendoza of Philippine Navy, and Crystal and Princess Superal of Orchard.

“Though the field looks very explosive at this point, we are still expecting some more confirmations this week since we’re coming from a long holiday,” said president Rio Co of event host Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines.

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