• De Guzman, Ardina sustain charge; Superal rebounds

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    Regina de Guzman CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    Regina de Guzman
    CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    Regina de Guzman continued to flash top form, firing an eagle-spiked four-under 68 to move to joint sixth while Dottie Ardina shot a 70 for a share of 12th after two rounds of the five-day LPGA Qualifying Tournament Final Stage at the LPGA International in Florida Thursday (Friday in Manila).

    Princess Superal bounced back from a 76 with a two-under 70 to break into the Magic 70 while Cyna Rodriguez also atoned for her atrocious opening 83 with a three-under 69 as the Filipina bets cashed in on the easier Jones Hills course to stay in the hunt.

    But Fil-Am Clariss Guce stumbled with a 75 at the Hills and dropped to joint 80th from a share of 38th while Mia Piccio also came away with an eagle on No. 5 and four birdies but made five bogeys, her 71 hardly moving her from 141st to joint 110th heading to the last 36 holes where the top 70, excluding ties, will advance to the fifth and final round where the top 20 will earn the coveted 2017 LPGA cards.

    Scot Mel Reid and Japanese Nasa Hataoka zeroed in on two of the berths as they pooled identical 133s after a 64 and 65, respectively, to share the lead, three ahead of American Jaye Green, who strung up a second straight 68 for a 136 while Latvian Krista Puisite carded a bogey-free 69 to tie erstwhile leader Katelyn Dambaugh, who settled for a 71 after a 67, at 138.

    But De Guzman also served notice of her bid for low medal honors as the 24-year-old San Jose State U senior moved from joint 14th to a share of sixth with three others at 139.

    She and Ardina actually started the round just four strokes off the pace but dropped two shots farther back behind the new joint leaders. But with her current form, which netted her a victory in the NWGA (National Women’s Golf Association) two weeks ago, also in Florida, De Guzman hopes to press her bid although she braces for another tough outing as they head back to the tough Hills layout for the third round.

    Starting at the backside, De Guzman ran off five pars before hitting back-to-back birdies. She parred the par-3 17th then eagled the par-5 18th and followed it up with another birdie on the first. She, however, double-bogeyed the par-3 third hole, dropped another shot on the next but birdied Nos. 7 and 8 for a 36-32.

    Ardina, who fell short of her bid here last year and spent the season honing up at the Symetra Tour, teed off last on No. 1 and birdied Nos. 3 and 5, dropped a shot on the next before settling for a slew of pars. She hit another birdie on No. 14, bogeyed the 16th but holed out with a birdie for a 35-35 and a 141 for joint 12th, eight strokes behind the leaders.

    Reeling from a bogey-riddled 76 at Hills, Superal slipped farther back with a bogey on the eighth but the former US Girls’ Junior champion rattled off three straight birdies from No. 10, bogeyed No. 16 before closing out with a birdie for a 37-33.

    She stood too far behind, 13 shots off the pace, but her effort enabled her to leapfrog from joint 111st to a share of 63rd.

    Rodriguez failed to keep the momentum of her three birdies in the last five holes to close out a forgettable 83 at Hills as she settled for eight straight pars at Jones then birdied the ninth and No. 13, dropped a shot on the 15th before birdying two of the last three. She, however, remained way off the Top 70 at 133rd but hoped to put in low rounds in the last two days.

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