REGINA de Guzman and Dottie Ardina virtually sealed their spots in the Top 70 while firming up their bids for 2017 LPGA Tour cards with a pair of impressive 70s at the tough Hills Course of the LPGA International in Florida Friday.
De Guzman, 24, banked on a three-birdie string from No. 11 to shoot out a two-under 70 for an impressive seven-under 209 aggregate and solo eighth while Ardina used a birdie-birdie start to match the Filipina amateur’s card for a 211 total and a share of 10th spot after three rounds of the five-day LPGA Qualifying Tournament Final Stage.
That assured the duo of spots in the final day of the grueling elims where the top 70 players, excluding ties, after four rounds will dispute the top 20 LPGA Tour cards for next year.
Japanese Nasa Hataoka shot a 69 at the Jones layout to boost her bid for low medal honors with a 202, seven strokes ahead of De Guzman and one up on American Jaye Green, who had a 203 after a 67.
De Guzman and Ardina are both expected to improve with their fourth round assignment set at the easier Jones side where they shot 68 and 70, respectively, Thursday.
But the four other Filipinas struggled in tough condition at the Hills and tumbled out of the magic 70 heading to the last 18 holes of the elims.
Fil-Am Clariss Guce actually stumbled with a 73 at the Jones and dropped to joint 83rd at 220 while Princess Superal, who bounced back with a 70 at Jones after an opening 76 at Hills, limped with another four-over card at Hills and slipped to joint 101st with a 222, four strokes off the cut-off score.
Mia Piccio also fumbled with a 74 for a 223 in joint 116th while Cyna Rodriguez hobbled with a 75 for a 227 and a share of 139th.
De Guzman birdied No. 2 but bogeyed the next then after a run of pars, the San Jose State U senior rattled off three straight birdies from No. 11 although she dropped a stroke on the final hole and missed barging into the top four.
Ardina, on the other hand, sizzled early with back-to-back birdies but bogeyed No. 4 then birdied the par-3 15th to remain on course of her Tour card bid after falling short here last year.