Pauline del Rosario fumbled with a late mental lapse and hobbled with a 74 but stretched her lead to two strokes over a surging Nemittra Juntanaket of Thailand in the second round of the ICTSI Orchard Ladies Invitational at Orchard’s Player course in Dasmariñas, Cavite on Thursday.
One-up over Thai Pannapa Polnamin and two other locals with a 73 Wednesday, Del Rosario bucked tough pin placements and birdied the first two holes but cooled down just as quickly with a bogey on the third and a couple of missed birdie chances.
Though she kept a run of pars in the next 12 holes, the rookie pro stumbled with another bogey on No. 16 then took a two-stroke penalty after Polnamin complained that she teed off outside the No. 17 box.
“I knew I was actually inside (the box) but decided not to contest it,” said Del Rosario, adding that Sarah Ababa, the other player in the group, didn’t see where she hit her drive and couldn’t back her up.
Still, her 35-39 card and a 147 proved enough to put Del Rosario two shots clear off Juntanaket, who fired the tournament-best 70 for a 149, as Polnamin skied to a 79 on a closing 41 and tumbled to joint eighth with Ababa, who also made a 79, at 153, now six strokes behind.
Defending champion Chihiro Ikeda, who also opened with a 74, also limped with an 81 and fell to joint 11th at 155 with Thai Numa Gulyanamitta, who bounced back with a 75.
“I actually had a great game today (yesterday) compared to the first round where I struggled on the greens,” said Del Rosario. “I was able to handle the greens now but I need to stay focused tomorrow (today).”
Juntanaket battled back from seven down with three birdies in the first five holes, dropped two shots on Nos. 6 and 10, but birdied the 11th to finish with a 34-36 and assume the challenger’s role in the P1 million event sponsored by ICTSI.
Amateur Eagle Ace Superal turned in a wild 72 that included four birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey to move to joint third with Indonesian Jessica Lydia, who carded a second straight 75, at 150 while Alisara Wedchakama and Suchaya Tangkamolprasert, both of Thailand, stood at 151s with 73 and 74, respectively.
Sam Bruce, another amateur in the fold, wavered at the tougher backside with three bogeys and settled for a 75 to seize solo seventh at 152.
Korean Euna Koh, who edged Del Rosario in sudden death to snare the LPGT Luisita crown in Tarlac last April, withdrew due to back injury.
That’s one less worry for the 18-year-old Del Rosario, who has had two sorry finishes in their three tournaments as a pro, ending up joint second at Splendido and struggling to joint 15th at Mt. Malarayat.
But with a two-stroke lead, she moved 18 holes away from scoring her maiden victory in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.