Del Rosario wrests 4-shotlead with 68


PAULINE DEL ROSARIO rode a decisive four-birdie spree from No. 9 on her way to a 68 to post a four-shot lead over Kim Seoyun and a resurgent Daniella Uy in the second round of the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) Caliraya Springs Championship in Cavinti, Laguna, on Wednesday.

Unable to launch her drive in a rare Ladies Philippine Golf Tour (LPGT) appearance with a three-putt miscue on No. 1 Tuesday, del Rosario still wrestled with her putter on No. 5, but this time, she knocked down an eagle and shot five birdies to more than make up for her three-bogey slip for a 35-33 and a 36-hole total of seven-under 137.

“My round was very similar to the previous one. I had another three-putt bogey again (No. 5) and hit it into the hazard on the eighth, took a drop for another bogey,” said Del Rosario, an Epson Tour campaigner who had to birdie two of the last three holes to save a 69 and a one-shot lead over Kim in the first round.

But her latest miscues only negated her eagle feat on the par-five No. 4 where she hit a knockdown 9-iron shot from 140 yards to within nine feet and buried the putt.

Then came the four-birdie binge from No. 9 that enabled her to drive a wedge between her and her pursuers although Kim bounced back from a two-over card after 12 holes with three birdies in the last five for a 71.

The young Korean, however, fell behind by four at 141, which Uy matched by besting del Rosario’s 68 with a tournament-best 67 in a big rebound from a first round 74.

Out to redeem herself from a final round meltdown in Iloilo, Uy overcame a one-over card after six holes with two birdies in the next three. The former Junior World champion, who scored an LPGT breakthrough in wicked conditions at Riviera in bubble setup in 2021, then sustained her run at the back, hitting four birdies for a 35-32.

Chanelle Avaricio likewise recovered from a 73 with a 70 but last year’s three-leg winner stayed six strokes adrift of the ICTSI-backed del Rosario at 143, while Harmie Constantino hardly recovered from a double-bogey on No. 8 with a birdie on the 10th for a 73 and a 144 total.

Korean Jane Jeong also battled back from a 76 with a 70 to tie Florence Bisera, who carded a 71, at 146 while amateur and SEA Games-bound Mafy Singson and Apple Fudolin each fired a 71 after 76s for joint eighth at 147 with Sarah Ababa and Marvi Monsalve, who matched 73s.

Lois Kaye Go, who will join Singson and Rianne Malixi in the Cambodia SEAG, looked headed for a big assault after bucking a miscue on No. 1 with three birdies in the next five holes. But the Cebuana shotmaker wavered at the back, making two double bogeys and a bogey for a 75.

She tumbled to a share of 14th instead with Rev Alcantara, Chihiro Ikeda and Korean Yang Ju Young, who all carded 74s for 150s, as they stood behind joint 12th running Gretchen Villacencio and Pamela Mariano, who shot a 72 and 75, respectively, for 149s.

Despite her huge lead, del Rosario, priming up for the Epson Tour’s next tournament, the Copper Rock Championship in Utah where compatriot Dottie Ardina is the defending champion, said she needs to shoot a 6-under to secure a follow-up to her last LPGT win in 2020, also at Riviera.

“I hope I can correct my putting woes tomorrow. My target is to shoot 6-under but otherwise, I just have to make the most of it,” said del Rosario.

Kim, Uy and the rest, however, would need to dish out their best to foil the 2017 LPGT Order of Merit’s title drive.

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