J-Ro comes in full colour

Community News & Features Jul 16, 2004 at 10:44 am

Jennifer Rosales, the newest Philippine pride in the golf world, finished ninth and bagged $27,000 at the finals during the 2004 BMO Financial Group Canadian Women’s Open title held at the Battlefield Course of the Legends on the Niagara, Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Her Canada performance has been considered by many as reminiscent of the recently concluded US Women’s Open (July 3) where she once again came close to gaining the top prize (she got the no. 4 spot). At BMO’s finals last July 11, she ranked no. 1 in the early round but just like in Massachusetts, that changed and she lost her spot. That loss was to the same worthy opponent – Meg Mallon who is the current BMO champion. In this Canadian leg of the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) tour, Rosales scored a total of 279, nine under and tied with Gloria Park of Korea.

In an earlier press conference during the PRO-AM game, Rosales said she was pleased with her performance. “I played good overall just the last hole. I’m pretty happy the way I ended up playing today.” She did admit however, of suffering quite a few setbacks at the ninth hole with her ball going too much on the left side. “It was my mistake. I deserved it. I became too aggressive”.

Her mental distraction, she admitted was due to her loss during the US Open held recently. “It was the most significant game I had ever played. I tried my best but it seems my best was not good enough,” she explained. Jennifer was quick enough to reassure herself though that she would remain focused in her future games.

Her Uncle Jules Hidalgo and Auntie Maria Hidalgo who came all the way from Connecticut were present during the finals to lend their support to Rosales. “Jennifer is really an emotional type of kid – very sensitive,” commented her Uncle Jules. However, she is a very tenacious kid. This character has
made her a professional golfer.”

Her auntie was also quick to respond and added, “She is very diligent and funny at times. Perhaps it is not just her time.”

In spite of Rosales’s drawbacks, many are still confident that she will become the next Tiger Woods in the ladies’ tournament given the time and more experience.

According to Meg Mallon, this year’s BMO champion with a score of -2, 270, “Jennifer is definitely a good player. I played with her during the US open and she was fantastic.”

Lorena Ochoa of Mexico who finished fourth during the finals admired Rosales’s dexterity as a player. “Jennifer has been great. I like playing with her and I wish her the best.”

For Rosales’s fans, she will always remain a winner. It does not hurt that she makes a statement with both her swing and her personal style. That’s where the name J-Ro steps in.

J-RO as she prefers to be called has already become an icon in sport’s fashion. She sports the Bally brand from head to toe. In fact, she hopes to design her own sports clothes but brushes aside the idea that she would make it as a profession.

Known in the Philippines as the Elvis Presley of Sports, Rosales has no qualms when sporting a fascinating or “punk” style of sports apparels. “I wear what I like to wear” she replied to one of the media men who was quite petrified with her “cool stuff” disposition. “My clothes is an expression of myself,” she added. During the press conference, she wanted to show her tattoo of a butterfly and two dolphins but was unable to do so because her t-shirt was too tight to remove.

Rosales may look eccentric at times because of her fashion style but her choice of color has also mystified many of her adoring fans. “I love black because it is simple,” she said with a wry smile. She also does not play without her good luck red “bracelet” for well being.

A resident of Southern California where she pursues a college education, Rosales plays all sorts of sports from swimming, volleyball to tennis. It is how she keeps her body trim but admitted that her main secret is working on Pilates.

At 5″5, she is hardly conscious of keeping herself trim but she believes in the benefits of being sports minded to remain physically fit. She loves to play all sorts of sports, but her best game is running – with her 16 dogs. “I simply adore my dogs,” she said with a giggle like any other normal young kid. “I cannot travel without bringing my two yorkies: Asian and Bally.”

Born and raised in the Philippines, Rosales started playing at the age of 12. She became a 5-time champion of the Philippine Ladies Amateur Open. In 1998, she became a competitor on the USC women’s golf team and won the NCAA individual championships. She also won the Golf World Invitational.

And while she’s chasing her own dream for future tournaments, Rosales is encouraging the other young athletes to face their own challenge. “Keep going, after all, it is simply a game,” she said.