Dottie Ardina bucked a bogey start at the back with two birdies at the front as she turned in a one-under 71 at the tough Hills course to tie Filipino amateur Regina de Guzman and 14 others at 22nd, four strokes off joint leaders Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras and Katelyn Dambaugh of the US at the start of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament Final Stage in Florida Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
Sustaining a remarkable windup on the Symetra Tour that sent her straight to Stage III of the LPGA elims, Ardina toughened up after that bogey mishap on No. 10, coming through with a slew of pars, including a couple of up-and-down feats, then birdying Nos. 1 and 3 from long range for a closing 34.
De Guzman, who also started at the back of the Hills layout, actually toted a two-under card heading to the ninth but the Filipina amateur, coming off a playoff victory in the NWGA (National Women’s Golf Association) Championship, also in Florida, two weeks ago, bogeyed the par-4 hole and settled for a 35-36.
She bogeyed No. 15 but birdied No. 17 before hitting back-to-back birdies from No. 4.
Fil-Am Clariss Guce, a two-time winner this year on the Symetra Tour, mixed three birdies against the same number of bogeys for joint 38th in a field of 156 chasing the top 70 spots after four rounds into the final 18 holes where 20 LPGA Tour cards for 2017 will be up for grabs.
While Ardina, De Guzman and Guce put themselves in early contention, the three other Filipina hopefuls floundered and dropped way below the cut-off line.
Princess Superal never recovered from a shaky start of three straight bogeys from No. 13, also at Hills, making just one birdie while dropping two more strokes on Nos. 4 and 6 for a four-over 76.
She fell to a share of 111th while Mia Piccio and Cyna Rodriguez proved worse with 78 and 83, respectively.
Piccio, also a two-year Symetra Tour campaigner, fumbled with four bogeys and made one double-bogey in a birdie-less round of 39-39, while Rodriguez, who had a forgettable LPGA Tour debut, dropped three shots on No. 4 and made two more triple bogeys and three bogeys before finding her range and rhythm with three birdies in the last five holes, both at the Hills course.
But that hardly moved Rodriguez from the bottom of the field although she hoped to cash in on her strong finish as action shifts to the Jones layout Thursday (Friday in Manila).
Thanapolboonyaras led the attack at the easier Jones layout, hitting six birdies against three bogeys then spiking her 33-34 card with an eagle on No. 5 while amateur Dambaugh also came through with an eagle, but on the par-4 seventh to go with five birdies, including three straight from No. 16, against two bogeys, also at Jones.
Korean Kim Min-G, Japanese Nasa Hataoka and American Jaye Green all turned in 68s while eighth shot 69s and another eight players churned out two-under 70s.