Cyna Rodriguez fought back from two strokes down then pounced on Princess Superal’s shaky windup to force a four-way tie for the lead with two other amateurs at 71 at the start of the ICTSI Mt. Malarayat Ladies Classic at Mt. Malarayat’s composite courses in Lipa City, Batangas on Wednesday.
Rodriguez bogeyed two of the first five holes and fell behind Superal in an early clash of the favorites in the P500,000 seventh leg of the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour. But the reigning back-to-back Order of Merit winner rebounded with four birdies in a seven-hole stretch from No. 7 to negate another bogey on No. 14 for a 36-35 card in overcast skies.
Superal, who nipped Rodriguez in a playoff to snare the Wack Wack Championship crown last April, showed up her fancied rival with three birdies in the first 10 holes. But after a run of four pars, the former US Girls’ Junior champion wavered with bogeys on Nos. 15 and 18 and dropped to a share of first.
“I just lost my touch in the closing holes, especially on No. 18, a birdie hole,” rued Superal, who birdied No. 2, 9 and 10 from close range but flubbed par putts inside seven feet on Nos. 15 and 18.
Abby Arevalo, who came away with a pair of victories in the ICTSI-The Country Club’s campaign in US junior tournaments the last two months, actually took charge early with a fiery 33 at the Mt. Makulot layout. But the 16-year-old find failed to sustain her charge at Mt. Lubo, bogeying Nos. 10, 13 and 17 and needing to birdie the last hole to Rodriguez and Superal on top.
Korean amateur Hwang Min Jeong came charging back in the last flight and also birdied the final hole to fire a 36-35 and create a four-way logjam in what looms to be a fierce battle for top honors in the 54-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Former leg winner Jayvie Agojo, out to end a string of poor finishes in the circuit sponsored by ICTSI, hit a 35 at Makulot but failed to join the leaders when she missed the green on the tough No. 14 and missed a six-footer for a 72.
Sarah Ababa, winner at Sherwood, struggled with four bogeys after 14 holes but birdied No. 15 to salvage a 75 for joint sixth with Lina De Guzman, Apple Fudolin, Lovelynn Guioguio and Korean Kim So Un.
Amateurs Sofia Chabon and Yuka Saso stood a couple of shots farther back at 77 with 36 holes left.