Cyna Rodriguez blew a four-stroke lead as she lost her touch off the mound but fought back from three down with superb putting to regain a two-shot edge despite a 75 as Thai Supakchaya Pattaranakrueang crumbled at the finish in the second round of the ICTSI Luisita Ladies Championship at the Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac on Thursday.
In a bizarre twist, Rodriguez bogeyed the very three holes (Nos. 4, 5 and 7) she birdied that anchored her superb opening 70 card Wednesday but came through with a slew of par saves and a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-5 16th to move 18 holes away from breaking a long spell on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour with a 145.
From 4-up, the Filipina ace fell by three as Pattaranakrueang, who opened with a 74, scorched the frontside with three birdies in the first eight holes. Though she dropped strokes on the par-5 ninth and No. 11, the veteran Thai campaigner birdied Nos. 12 and 14 to move up by three with a one-under overall card.
But just when she thought she had the course all figured out, Pattaranakrueang needed two blasts to get out of the greenside bunker on the par-4 No. 15 for a 6 then holed out with a wet double-bogey on the tough No. 17 to slip to second again after a 73 and a 147.
“I hit just eight fairways, either my drive went left or right. But my putting got me back into the game, made a lot of par saves and rolled in that long birdie on No. 16,” said Rodriguez, who last won at Riviera in 2015.
Like the rest of the contenders, she vowed to stay focused while hoping to get her swing in check in today’s final round tipped to go down-to-the-wire with Marvi Monsalve raring to sneak into the title race for a crack at a maiden crown worth P350,000 in the P1.5 million event sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Monsalve, who also shot a 74 in the first round, actually grabbed the lead with an early three-birdie binge in the first five holes but cracked when the going got tough, fumbling with five bogeys in the last 13 holes and wound up with another 74 for a 148, just three shots off Rodriguez.
Amateur Sofia Chabon turned in the day’s best score of one-under 71 on a three-birdie, two-bogey effort, as she tied Thai Thanuttra Boonraksasat and fellow amateur Mikha Fortuna, who both carded 74s, and Princess Superal at 151, six strokes behind the former three-time Order of Merit winner.
Superal hardly recovered from an opening 76 with a 75, marred by two double-bogeys, but the recent Tagaytay and Riviera leg winner remained hopeful of a big comeback in the final round of the tournament backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZGm PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.