Cyna Rodriguez scorched John Hay’s backside with a six-under 28 and matched her first round output of 63 to post a record-winning margin of 11 strokes over Amolkan Phalajivin of Thailand in the P500,000 ICTSI Camp John Hay Ladies Invitational in Baguio on Thursday.
Rodriguez caught fire in the last eight holes, ramming in six birdies in a seven-hole stretch from No. 11, including four straight to highlight the spree, for that 63 and a 12-under 195 total, including her second round 69 that kept her ahead by four over Phalajivin.
She actually got her rhythm with a six-foot birdie on the ninth to hold off the charging Thai bet who moved to within two with back-to-back birdies from No. 6 then used an impeccable iron game and superb putting in the closing holes to smother the field.
“The birdies came at the right time and gave me a safe distance from Amolkan. I got going on the ninth and I putted superbly well until the end,” said Rodriguez, who pocketed another P100,000 after topping the kickoff leg of the tour sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. at Orchard last April.
She skipped last week’s second stage won by Jayvie Agojo at Riviera to honor a previous commitment to play in the Technology Cup Taiwan but marked her return to the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. in record fashion.
Phalajivin pounced on Rodriguez’s so-so start to threaten to within two but lost her putting touch and could just watch in awe as Rodriguez turned their backside battle into a target contest.
“After she closed in, I told myself to play it smart and not to force my shots. The ploy worked,” said Rodriguez, who chipped in for birdie to start the binge on No. 11 before tapping in on the next and knocking down a pair of eight-footers.
Rodriguez thus matched her two-title romp in last year’s inaugurals where she also took the Order of Merit crown and her margin of victory over Phalajivin also bettered the eight-shot romp posted by amateur Princess Superal in humbling the pros in last year’s final leg of last year’s inaugurals of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“I had birdie opportunities but they just didn’t fall. Still I’m happy with my game,” said Phalajivin, who wavered with two bogeys in the last four holes for a 70 and a 206 worth P70,000.
Apple Fudolin rallied with a two-under 67 to salvage joint third at 212 with Sarah Ababa, who matched par 69 worth P40,500 each while Anya Tanpinco slid to fifth at 215 after a 73.
Agojo failed to recover from a disastrous 77 start as she turned in a 71 and wound up sixth at 216 while Korean Kwon Seo Yon shot a 72 to tie Lovelynn Guioguio, who carded a 73, at seventh at 217.
Nikki Bruce took the low amateur honors with a 219 after a 72 while Eva Miñoza ended up 10th at 225 after a 75.
“It was a nice experience to play against the pros,” said Bruce, a high school senior at Assumption who hinted at joining the country’s first ladies pro tour backed by Nike, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp next year.