Ikeda, Malixi, Constantino shine in Match Play

Ikeda, Malixi, Constantino shine in Match Play

The Philippine Star

November 16, 2022 | 12:00

MANILA, Philippines — Top seed Chihiro Ikeda and imaginative Rianne Malixi reeled off convincing wins to advance while No. 2 Harmie Constantino needed to sharpen up down the stretch to squeak past Mafy Singson, 1-up, at the start of the ICTSI Villamor match Play Invitational at Villamor Golf Club yesterday.

Sunshine Baraquiel collected Eva Miñoza five holes later with a 7&6 route, leading the onslaught of the top-ranked players in the new championship that ended the season of the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, which featured 11 stages at various championship courses in Luzon.

“I shot four birdies but made a double on the par-3 No. 17 and finished with a par seven,” Baraquiel said.

Blooming off the mound, she eyed the pins she hopes to produce against second-seeded Constantino as the action heats up in the head-to-head showdowns leading to a crack at the P280,000 championship.

“Same game plan – hit the fairways so I can attack the pin,” said the seventh-ranked women’s pilot.

Ikeda imposed her will on Martina Miñoza and posted a 4&2 win, while Malixi, effectively the fanciest in the 16-player roster, edged Pamela Mariano in the first four back holes and then went 2-up on No. 17.

The 15-year-old amateur star, who swept all three of her stints in this year’s LPGT at Luisita, Valley and Riviera, then kept her grip on the front to claim a 3&2 triumph for a quarter-final showdown with Gretchen Villacencio, who dismissed Kristine Fleetwood, 2&1.

Constantino hacked out a tense 1-up win over Singson, in the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.-organized championship, in a back-and-forth duel.

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On the men’s side, top-ranked Guido Van der Valk, No. 2 Tony Lascuña and the next three seeds collected their respective rivals in different ways while Fidel Concepcion overwhelmed No. 6 Michael Bibat on the 20th hole of the opening round.

Van der Valk relieved No. 32 Dan Cruz, 4&2; Lascuña shrugged off an early miscue to subdue fellow Davaoeño Paul Echavez, 3&1; No. 3 Clyde Mondilla held off Mars Pucay, 2-up; and Caliraya Springs stage winner Zanieboy Gialon stomped Art Arbole, 4&2.

Fifth-ranked Miguel Tabuena and Angelo Que also joined the fancy bets and a host of lesser lights for the next round of the first-ever head-to-head event in the country’s premier men’s and women’s professional circuit staged by ICTSI.

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