• Constantino cruises to 8-shot LPGT romp

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    Harmie Constantino

    Harmie Constantino

    Harmie Constantino nailed her biggest victory in a young career the easy way, claiming the ICTSI Malarayat Ladies Classic via an eight-shot romp over Thai Saraporn Chamchoi with a closing four-under 68 at the Mt. Malarayat composite course in Lipa City, Batangas on Thursday.

    While most would toil to realize a dream pro victory, the 15-year-old Constantino needed just three solid rounds to dominate a badly outclassed international field and become the third amateur to win in this year’s ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.

    “I’m overwhelmed since I didn’t expect to win. I just went out there and played my game,” said Constantino, the reigning national champion who came into the 54-hole event sponsored by ICTSI in top form with a couple of top three finishes in the national stroke and match play championships and a victory in last month’s Gary Woodland Championship in the US.

    “I’m so proud of my feat, especially after beating the Thais,” added the diminutive shotmaker, who completed her remarkable three-day stint with an 11-under 205, spiked by a 66 Wednesday, and beat Chamchoi, who struggled with a 74 for a 213, by eight.

    Gaining a two-shot cushion over Chamchoi with that six-under card in the second round, Constantino braced for a final round shootout with two Thai pros, including Chatprapa Siriprakob. But instead of wilting under pressure, the Villamor ace instead showed up her more experienced rivals, hitting a birdie on No. 2 then stringing three straight birdies in impressive fashion from No. 6 to pull away.

    It was virtually over from there as Constantino’s opening 32 put her unassailably ahead of Chamchoi, who fumbled with a 38 and fell by eight and the rest also failed to at least match the young shotmaker’s scorching start.

    Chihiro Ikeda, who took three years to record her first pro win at Orchard last month, did turn in a 34 after nine holes but settled for two birdies against the same number of bogeys at the back. She finished with a 70 and failed to get past Chamchoi for third at 214.

    Chamchoi, who had hoped for a breakthrough after a couple of near-misses in the country’s premier ladies circuit, took the top P150,000 purse in the sixth leg of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Sharp, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Champion, TaylorMade and Pacsports.

    Jayvie Agojo and amateur Chanelle Avaricio carded identical 74s and finished tied for fourth at 220 while Siriprakob, after back-to-back 72s, made four straight bogeys from No. 12 and hobbled with a 77 for 221.

    Apple Fudolin shot the day’s best of 67 on a sizzling five-birdie splurge to close out her 34-33 card and salvaged a share of seventh with last year’s Sherwood Hills leg winner Sarah Ababa, who made a 73, for 223s.

    Amateur Daniella Uy, an early contender with an opening 72, tumbled down to ninth as she skied with a 79 for a 224 while Fil-Am Cristina Corpus, first-time winner at Luisita last year, rebounded from a 76 and an 80 with a 73 and ended up 10th at 229.

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