Mexico, Pampanga—Chonlada Chayanun birdied two of the last four holes to card a 69 and lead the crack Thai charge but Princess Superal and Chihiro Ikeda stayed in the mix with 70s in opener the ICTSI Beverly Place Ladies Classic here yesterday.
Mookharin Ladgratok and Ornnicha Konsunthea also hit late birdies to match Chayanun’s two-under par effort at the short, flat but tricky Beverly Place’s par-71 layout with tough pin placements, giving the Thais early control of the P750,000 event serving as the third leg of the new Ladies Philippine Golf Tour season.
Ladgratok checked a bogey-bogey skid from No. 15 with a birdie on the 17th while Konsunthea, who tied for sixth with Chayanun in the last LPGT stop at Pradera Verde, birdied the par-5 closing hole as the Thais set in motion their bid to extend their domination after winning five of the 12 tournaments in the previous edition of the circuit put up by ICTSI.
“The pin placements are difficult, placed near the edge of the greens,” said Chayanun, who also bucked the wind that blew from various directions that bedeviled the games of the other fancied players in the fold.
But the local aces didn’t stray too far behind the Thais although Ikeda needed to birdie the last hole to save a 71 after blowing a sterling three-birdie splurge after five holes. The many-time LPGT winner bogeyed Nos. 7 and 9, birdied Nos. 12 and 16 to atone for a double-bogey blunder on No. 15 then recovered from a bogey on the 17th with that closing birdie for a 33-37 card.
Superal, who scored back-to-back title romps at Highlands and Riviera on her way to claiming the Order of Merit title, failed to really get going, settled for an up-and-down pair of 35s made up four birdies against three bogeys.
“You have to be precise with your approach shots to get a chance for birdies,” said Superal.
Another Thai, Punpaka Phuntumabamrung, also squandered an eagle-spiked three-under card after nine holes with three bogeys in the first four holes at the back and needed to birdie the 17th in the last flight to join Ikeda and Superal at fourth.
Narisara Kerdrit, also from Thailand, also holed out with a birdie to salvage an even-par round for solo seventh while fancied Dottie Ardina and Pauline del Rosario rebounded late to wheel back into contention after a shaky start in the early going of the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc.
Ardina, using the event as part of her final buildup for her LPGA Tour campaign starting next month in Australia, dropped strokes on Nos. 7 and 8 birdied No. 16 to save a 72 while 2017 OOM titlist del Rosario struck back from a double bogey on No. 6 and a bogey on the 13th with birdies in the last two holes, a comeback she hopes to sustain as the race to the top 15 plus ties spots heats up in today’s pivotal second round.
Other one-over par scorers were Thais Jaruporn P Na Ayutthaya, Tiranan Yoopan and Aunchisa Utama along with Filipina Daniella Uy while three more Thais turned in identical 73s, including Kamonwan Lueamsri, Wannasiri Sirisampant and Nattapan Siritrai.
But two Korean bets floundered in windy play as Lee Ji Hyeon, winner of the new season’s kickoff leg in Baguio late last year, bogeying three of the last five holes to drop to 75 in a tie with leading amateur Samantha Dizon while former two-time LPGT Champion Tour winner Lee Jeong Hwa failed to recover from a poor start of 43 marred by a triple-bogey and seven bogeys en route to an 80 and in danger of missing the top 15-plus ties cut in the event event backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Empire Golf and Sports and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.