Constantino starts putting order with 70 at Aoki Classic


HARMIE CONSTANTINO shouldered herself past amateur Mafy Singson with a scorching finish, shooting a 70 to rally from four down and into a two-stroke lead after 36 holes of the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) Aoki Classic at Eagle Ridge on Thursday in General Trias, Cavite.

Constantino shook off another rollercoaster frontside 37 with three birdies in the last six holes then watched Singson succumb to pressure and yield strokes on Nos. 16 and 18 to move 18 holes away from completing back-to-back feat here after beating absentee Princess Superal by two in the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Challenge last March.

“It was a little rough start in the first nine holes but I made it up at the back nine and shot three-under,” said Constantino, whose 143 aggregate gave her a two-shot cushion over Singson, who actually padded her lead with a gutsy 36 after nine holes.

But she wavered when the going got tougher, fumbling with four bogeys against a birdie in the last eight holes as she limped with a 75 after she and fellow amateur Laurea Duque upstaged Constantino and the other pros with 70 and 72, respectively, in Wednesday’s opener of the P750,000 event marking the third restart of the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour put up by ICTSI.

“My game is okay but I’m not so happy with it,” said Singson, who rued a number of missed putts that led to bogeys in the closing holes.

She, however, remained confident of her chances but stressed the need to toughen up in the last 18 holes to at least measure up with Constantino.

“I need to play steady and consistent, try to hit more greens and make the putts,” Singson said.

Despite her lead, Constantino, who slowed down at Sherwood (third) and Eagle Ridge-Norman (fourth) last July after spiking her pro debut with a victory, also underlined the need for consistency to post another top podium finish again in the bubble tournament organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc.

“I must play steady and try not to make many mistakes,” she said.

Though no lead is safe at Aoki, the rest will need to go low to contend as Sunshine Baraquiel matched par 72 and Chihiro Ikeda carded a 73 to tie Duque, who skied to a 77, at third at 149, six strokes off Constantino.

Baraquiel turned in an impressive two-birdie, one-bogey card at the front but bogeyed Nos. 10 and 13 before birdying the par-5 16th to salvage a 35-27 while Ikeda missed seizing solo third with a bogey on the last hole for a 37-36.

Duque failed to match her opening 72 with a slew of miscues at the front then holed out with a double-bogey for a 38-39 marred by five bogeys against two birdies.

Chanelle Avaricio, runner-up to Superal in the last two events before the circuit took a three-month break, recovered from a disastrous opening 79 with a one-birdie, one-bogey round. But her 72 and a 151 kept her way behind Constantino.

Marvi Monsalve also struggled trying to equal her first round 74 as she fumbled with a 77 and slipped to joint sixth with Avaricio while Burberry Zhang, another amateur, carded a 75 for a 152 and Daniella Uy also turned in a three-under card for a 153.

Image courtesy of Mark Lopez

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