Cavinti, Laguna — Chanelle Avaricio battled Chihiro Ikeda shot-for-shot and putt-for-putt and matched her rival’s closing 72 to make it two-in-row on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour with a one-stroke victory in the ICTSI Caliraya Springs Championship here yesterday.
Avaricio fended off Ikeda’s late charge with clutch pars in the last four holes, preserving her overnight one-shot lead and clinching the victory at 217 as the latter failed to sustain a birdie feat on the 16th and settled for closing pars for a 218 at the Caliraya Springs Golf Club.
“I admire playing against Ikeda, she’s so relaxed all the time and really very good,” said Avaricio, who, however, proved better in the end as she also claimed the bragging rights as winner at two courses which hosted an LPGT event for the first time.
But while she had some local knowledge of Hallow Ridge, which she calls home, she was practically clueless about Caliraya like the rest of the field. But with steady driving and good ball placements, she was able to produce the desired result.
“I didn’t expect it but I’m very happy to win again,” said Avaricio, who beat Princess Superal in sudden death to snare the ICTSI Hallow Ridge crown in San Pedro, Laguna two weeks ago. “I missed one very short putt but other than that, I played steady.”
She went 2-up with a birdie on No. 4 as Ikeda bogeyed the sixth. But the Fil-Japanese ace gained on a two-shot swing on No. 8 (birdie-bogey) to stay a stroke behind after a pair of frontside 36s.
Ikeda forced a tie at two-over overall as Avaricio failed to get up-and-down on No. 10 but the latter birdied No. 14 to regain the lead after the former’s bogey-birdie roll from No. 11.
Avaricio then sat on a two-stroke cushion as Ikeda bogeyed the 15th but threatened again with a birdie on the next before the duo matched pars in the last two holes to enable the former Alabama State U mainstay to record her second straight top podium finish in the circuit put up by ICTSI.
It was Avaricio’s third crown after dominating the field at Riviera-Couples last November with her latest feat to further booster her confidence as the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.-organized circuit heads to Mt. Malarayat and Summit Point in Lipa City, Batangas next month.
Daniella Uy, just a stroke behind Avaricio and in a tie with Ikeda after 36 holes, fell farther back with bogeys on Nos. 3 and 4. The Riviera-Langer leg winner last year bounced back with birdies on the fifth and ninth but double bogeyed No. 10 and yielded another stroke on the 15th for a 75 and a 221 for third.
Midlands leg champion Sunshine Baraquiel broke par with a 71 to tie reigning Order of Merit winner Harmie Constantino, who fumbled with a 74, at fourth at 225 while first round leader Marvi Monsalve recovered from a disastrous second round 85 with a 74 to share sixth place at 228 with Low amateur Arnie Taguines, who also carded a two-over card.
Florence Bisera turned in a 75 for eighth at 231 while Pamela Mariano and Gretchen Villacencio took the next two spots with 236 and 237 with 80 and 78, respectively.