Lubao, Pampanga—Chanelle Avaricio didn’t miss a beat despite missing the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour action the past three months, using a strong start and a stronger finish to shoot a 67 and storm ahead by three over amateur Mafy Singson in the ICTSI Pradera Championship here yesterday.
Using the postponement of the LPGA Q-School Stage II to hone and sharpen up her all-around skills, Avaricio flashed top form at the Pradera Verde layout where she reigned in runaway fashion last June, birdying three of the first eight holes then rebounding from a bunker-bunker mishap on the par-5 No. 9 with three backside birdies.
That put the former Alabama State star at a very familiar spot in the circuit she has dominated with three victories before embarking on a tougher mission in the LPGA.
“I hit a number of good iron shots that set up short birdie putts,” said Avaricio, who gained strokes on Nos. 4, 5 and 8 then made up for his lone miscue with birdies on Nos. 10, 16 and 18.
“I’ll just try to put myself in position and not to be aggressive,” said Avaricio, who also ruled the Hallow Ridge and Caliraya Springs. “But it will depend on the pin placements tomorrow (today).
But while she outplayed Singson in one of the featured flights, the latter hoped to build on her 70 to gain on her fancied rival in the second round and make a stab at a second LPGT crown after humbling Avaricio and the other pros at Splendido Taal last May. After a bogey-birdie exchange from No. 4, she gunned down three birdies to negate a bogey in the last eight holes for solo second.
Sunshine Baraquiel, seeking a follow-up to her breakthrough win at Highlands in wild conditions last year, blew a two-under card after five holes but recovered from bogeys on Nos. 7 and 10 with birdies on Nos. 11, 12 and 16. The lady pilot, however, missed seizing solo second from Singson with a costly double bogey mishap on the par-4 17th and tumbled to joint third with flightmate Harmie Constantino at 71.
Constantino, who marked her LPGT debut with two victories last year, also squandered a two-under frontside card with a bogey on No. 10 while Order of Merit frontrunner and two-leg winner Chihiro Ikeda failed to measure up with Baraquiel and Constantino, finishing with a 73 for joint fifth with Florence Bisera, Marvi Monsalve, Gretchen Villacencio and brand new pro and Riviera leg runner up Korean Kim Seoyun.
Sarah Ababa, meanwhile, birdied two of the first three holes at the back to wrest early control but the former LPGT leg winner at Sherwood faltered and limped with four bogeys, ending up with a 74 for joint 10th with Pamela Mariano in their side of the 54-hole championship put up by ICTSI offering a total prize fund of P1.25 million.