Princess Superal birdied the last three holes in impressive fashion as she saved a two-over 69 and tied a charging Yupaporn Kawinpakorn of Thailand in the second round of the ICTSI South Forbes Ladies Invitational at the South Forbes Golf Club in Silang, Cavite on Wednesday.
That scorching finish on a hot, windy day at the up-and-down par-67 layout enabled the Filipina ace to rally from three down in the last three holes and grab a share of the lead at one-over 135 as Kawinpakorn put in a tournament-best two-under 65.
Kawinpakorn, four behind Superal after the first 18 holes, pulled to within two with an even 33 start then stormed ahead with a huge three-shot swing on No. and another two-shot swing on the next. But she failed to match Superal’s fiery windup and missed gaining the upperhand heading to the last 18 holes of the season-ending P750,000 championship sponsored by ICTSI.
Still, she kept Thailand’s bid for a sweep of the last two legs of the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour after a 1-2-3 finish by her compatriots in the recent Philippine Ladies Masters at The Country Club.
Dottie Ardina recovered from a 70 with a 68 although the LPGA and Symetra Tour campaigner stood three strokes off the joint leaders with a 138 for joint third with another Thai Chonlada Chayanun, who started the round just a stroke off Superal but hobbled with a 71.
But no lead is safe at the short but challenging layout, guaranteeing a wide open battle for the top P150,000 purse, not just among the frontrunners but also for those just four or five strokes behind.
That includes Cyna Rodriguez, who dominated the first three seasons of the country’s first and premier ladies golf circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., who missed closing in on the leaders with a faltering finish. She double-bogeyed No. 15 and holed out with a bogey on the 18th for the second straight day and ended up with a 70 for solo fifth at 139.
After moving to within two at the turn, Kawinpakorn grabbed the lead with a birdie on the par-3 11th as Superal holed out with a double-bogey for a three-shot swing. The Thai cashed in on her top form and birdied the next, another par-3 hole, and pounced on Superal’s poor iron game that saw her yield another stroke with a bogey.
But after a birdie-bogey stint on Nos. 14 and 15, the former US Girls Juniors champion and many-time LPGT leg winner as an amateur and pro struck back with those late birdies to stay in the title hunt.
Chihiro Ikeda, winner at Forest Hills last month, failed to recover from a 69 start and stumbled with a 71 for a 140 while amateur Samantha Dizon of Team TCC, after putting herself into the mix with an opening 67, groped for form with a nine-over card after 16 holes before drilling in a pitch-in eagle at the par-4 17th for a 74 and a 141.
Kristine Torralba, also an amateur, rebounded with a 70 after a 73 for a 143, Numa Gulyanamitta, also of Thailand, carded a 71 for a 144, and Thai Sarinee Thitiratanakorn bounced back with a 70 to tie Marv Monsalve, who limped with a 76, at 146 in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.