Go out to buck odds in title-retention drive

    GO: Up against a tough cast of challengers.
    GO: Up against a tough cast of challengers.

    LOIS Kaye Go will have all the motivation to shoot for a repeat as she banners the women’s field in the National Stroke Play Championship teeing off on Jan. 7 at Riviera’s Langer course in Silang, Cavite.

    A member of the gold medal winning teams in the Asian Games in 2018 and in the SEA Games last December, the University of South Carolina senior hopes to keep her winning ways in the event she ruled last year by humbling the likes of Asian Games and SEA Games gold medalist Bianca Pagdanganan and Thai world No. 1 Atthaya Thitikul at the hazard-laden par-71 layout.

    Go surged past Thitikul with a third round 70 then held off Pagdanganan’s final round charge with another one-under card to claim the coveted crown.

    Though the fancied duo won’t be around to challenge the Cebuana ace, this year’s cast remains as talent-laden as ever with reigning WExpress RVF Cup and MVPSF Visayas regional champion Junia Gabasa, Philippine Junior Amateur, Philippine Amateur Open Match Play and Northern Luzon Regional titlist Rianne Malixi leading the roster of challengers.
    Add Cangolf Open winner Nicole Abelar and Riviera MVPSF Amateur champion Kim Seo Yun of South Korea and Go is indeed headed for another challenging week at one of the country’s toughest courses.

    Beefing up the roster in the 72-hole championship kicking off this year’s PLDT Group National Amateur Tour are Diana Araneta, Tomi Arejola, Laia Barro, Sophia Blanco, Sofia Chabon, Samantha Dizon, Laurea Duque, Bernice Ilas, Samantha Martirez and Eagle Ace Superal with Hong Kong’s Vivian Lee out to pull off a surprise.

    Japanese Riko Nagai, a sophomore at Radford University in Virginia, is also in the list, ready to foil Go and the rest of the locals with hopes of completing a sibling sweep of the event with Gen Nagai seeking to defend his crown in the men’s side of the tournament sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation and backed by Cignal, Metro Pacific Investments and Summit Ridge as official hotel.

    Other Koreans in the roster are Bang Hee Yeon, Jane Jeong, Kim Ka He, Kim Ye Rin, Min Seo Kwon and Park Hyun Jo, all hoping to cash in on their local knowledge of the layout in quest of the championship in the event organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.

    Meanwhile, listup for the 25th WExpress RVF Cup Amateur Open Golf Championship on Feb. 11-14 in Canlubang is ongoing. For details, call NGAP at telefax No. (02) 7065926 or at Riviera Golf Club, Inc. at (02) 888-9089 or 0956-8821149 email [email protected]