Pauline conquers Caliraya


PAULINE DEL ROSARIO survived a scare from Kim Seoyun and closed out with a two-putt par 71 then watched the Korean miss a roll for birdie to pull off a one-stroke victory in the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) Caliraya Springs Championship in Cavinti, Laguna, on Thursday.

Kim charged back from four strokes down in the last six holes with three birdies in from No. 13 then came threateningly close after del Rosario put to naught a birdie on the 16th with a bogey on the next, making it a one-shot lead heading to the par-four 18th of the Caliraya Springs Golf Club.

After both reached the green in regulation, the Korean putted first from 20 feet out with the ball rolling into the cup before swerving to the right at the finish for a 68, enabling del Rosario to pound the victory after muffing her own birdie bid from closer range.

Del Rosario pocketed the top P115,000 prize on an eight-under 208 total while on a three-week break from the Epson Tour with the victory serving as a big confidence booster as she builds up for the Copper Rock Championship in Utah next week.

“I think what I would take away from this week is my short game since Caliraya Springs is not really a long course, so my approach shots and putting were very much used,” said del Rosario, due for a big finish in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour’s farm league.

“What I noticed about my game is that I made a lot of shots below 100 yards, so I would focus on practicing those yardages just to fine-tune it a little bit more,” added the ICTSI-backed 2017 Ladies Philippine Golf Tour Order (LPGT) of Merit winner, who missed the Anvaya Ladies International ruled by fellow Epson Tour campaigner Bianca Pagdanganan last February.

“It’s so nice to see familiar faces and back in local competition. There’s a lot of talents here and I’m glad to be a part of it,” said del Rosario, who also topped the LPGT Riviera leg in 2020 before embarking on the US tour.

Ahead by four on 69-68 rounds, del Rosario was cruising along with a two-birdie, two-bogey card after nine holes then birdied Nos. 12 and 16 to hold off the 19-year-old Kim’s late charge that featured birdies on Nos. 13, 14 and 16.

Kim’s closing four-under card gave her a 209 total worth P83,000 for her second runner-up effort after yielding the crown to amateur sensation Rianne Malixi at Riviera-Langer last year.

Harmie Constantino failed to sustain a three-birdie roll after five holes as she reeled back with bogeys on Nos. 7 and 13 before birdying the last for a 70.

She tied Florence Bisera, who rallied with a 68, at third at 214. Each received P63,000.

Chanelle Avaricio, the come-from-behind winner at Bacolod, wound up with a 72 to finish tied at fifth at 215 with Sarah Ababa, who fought back with her own version of a 68, and Daniella Uy, who limped with a 74 after a tournament-best 67 in the second round.

Marvi Monsalve also carded a 71 for eighth at 218 while Pamela Mariano matched par 72 for joint ninth with Korean Jane Jeong, who shot a 74, at 220.

Mafy Singson fumbled with a 74 for a share of 11th at 221 with Chihiro Ikeda and Apple Fudolin, who fired 71 and 74, respectively, but still took the low amateur honors as SEA Games-bound national teammate Lois Kaye Go wound up with a 225 after a third straight 75.

Image credits: Nonie Reyes

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