Lubao, Pampanga—Yupaporn Kawinpakorn hit two clutch backside birdies to claim the hotly-disputed ICTSI Pradera Verde Ladies Classic crown, repelling Dottie Ardina on No. 12 and beating fellow Thai Pimpadsorn Sangkagaro by two with a 69 here yesterday.
The Thai veteran campaigner came out of a three-way tie after 11 holes with a birdie on the par-5 12th then held sway to the finish as Ardina, who moved to joint lead at six-under overall with back-to-back birdies from No. 11 in a flight ahead, fell behind by two with a bogey on the 14th and failed to mount a challenge again with a run of pars for a 71.
In contrast, Kawinpakorn shrugged off Sangkagaro’s challenge with another birdie from 15 feet on the 17th to churn out a second straight thee-under card, securing the victory on an eight-under 208 total worth P250,000 in this second leg of the 2019 Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.
“I expected to win because I really liked the course and I’m very happy I made it,” said Kawinpakorn, who actually struggled with her long game but more than made up for it with superb iron game and putting to close out with five birdies against two bogeys.
Sangkagaro, who kept the momentum of her fiery second day windup with a blistering start of three birdies in the first nine holes, blew an early two-stroke lead over Kawinpakorn and failed to recover from a bogey-bogey start at the back. She ended up second with a 71 and a 210 and took home P120,000.
While the setback extended the Chiang Mai native’s winless campaign on the LPGT, the victory kept Kawinpakorn’s impressive run on the ICTSI-sponsored circuit that saw her win the Beverly Place and Summit Point stops of the 2018 LPGT season after closing out the 2017 season with a win at South Forbes.
Ardina, whose back-to-back 70s kept her in the title hunt in the P1 million championship, recovered from a bogey start with a birdie on No. 6 then gained a shared view of the top with birdies on Nos. 11 and 12.
But Kawinpakorn, seeing the local favorite press her title bid, matched Ardina’s birdie to wrest solo control as Sangkagaro flubbed her own birdie bid.
A bogey on the 14th dashed Ardina’s hopes as Kawinpakorn stayed on top with a slew of pars then put away Sangkagaro’s threat with a decisive birdie on the penultimate hole.
Ardina settled for third at 211 after a 36-35 card and earned P85,000 while fellow Pinay Princess Superal squandered a solid start with a shaky backside stint and placed fourth with a 70 for a 213 worth P76,000.
Konsunthea, who tied Kawinpakorn and Sangkagaro on top after 36 holes, crumbled under pressure, limping with a 76 and dropped to joint sixth at 215.
“She (Kawinpakorn) played steady despite the strong wind and tough pin placements,” said Superal, who birdied three of the first five holes to wheel back into contention but dropped two strokes on the par-4 sixth to reel back.
She fought back with two birdies to close out her frontside but bogeyed Nos. 10 and 15 and dropped out of the title race. She birdied the 17th for a 33-37.
Meanwhile, Junia Gabasa took the low amateur honors despite a 77 for a 228 for joint 23th overall, one stroke ahead of Nicole Abelar, who pooled a 231 after a 75.
Seven Thais took the next six places to underscore their domination of the P1 million event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. with Chonlada Khamborn limping with a 73 to finish solo fifth at 214 and Chonlada Chayanun tieing Konsunthea at 215 after a 72.
Chommapat Pongthanarak hobbled with a 74 for eighth at 216 while Arpichaya Yubol matched par 72 for ninth at 219 followed by Waralee Atcharerk (79), Trichat Cheenglab (79) and Kanokwan Yospak (72), who were joined at 10th at 221 by Chihiro Ikeda, who closed out with a 73.
LPGT (2017) Order of Merit winner Pauline del Rosario failed to break par on a course she dominated last year, finishing with a 74 for solo 14th at 222 in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.
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