Del Rosario hangs on as Rodriguez makes move

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Pauline del Rosario CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Pauline del Rosario CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Pauline del Rosario blew leads of as many as five strokes in the early going but came through with two clutch birdies to salvage a 73 in a wind-blown day and hold off a charging Cyna Rodriguez for a share of the lead after two rounds of the P500,000 ICTSI Eagle Ridge Ladies Invitational at Eagle Ridge’s Aoki course in Gen. Trias, Cavite on Wednesday.

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The ace amateur from the ICTSI golf stable, who surprised the pros with a 71 in the first round to lead by three, went 5-up over the fancied Rodriguez with back-to-back birdies from No. 3 but reeled back when the wind picked up midway through the round, forcing the compact field to adjust their shot selections.

A heavy downpour late in the round made the condition a lot tougher but Del Rosario proved up to the challenge, sinking birdies from long range on Nos. 15 (18 feet) and 17 (24 feet) to save the one-over card and remain on top of the heap.

“Those birdies will surely boost my confidence in the final round. At least, I’m still tied for the lead,” said the 15-year-old Del Rosario, whose 144 total dropped her into a tie with Rodriguez, who fired a 70, but put her 18 holes away from becoming the first amateur to win on the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.

But Rodriguez will be out to foil her bid while trying to keep her streak going on the ICTSI-sponsored circuit she has dominated with three wins in the first four legs of the circuit, including back-to-back at John Hay and Mt. Malarayat.

Like Del Rosario, Rodriguez hit two late birdies on Nos. 14 and 15 to wrest control, only to drop into the tie with the gutsy amateur, who regained a share of the lead with a birdie on No. 17 from way out.

“The winds made it a lot tougher to putt,” said Rodriguez, who settled for pars in the first six holes, enabling Del Rosario to go 5-up with birdies on Nos. 3 and 4. “There were some holes where I had to really be careful of what club to use.”

Rodriguez birdied the par-5 seventh for the second straight day but three-putted the 11th before chipping in from 40 feet out for birdie on No. 14 and draining a five-footer for another birdie on the next.

Five shots off Del Rosario at the start of the round, Amolkan Phalajivin birdied the first two holes to close in but the Thai ace failed to sustain her solid start, settling for two bogeys against a birdie for a 71 and stood just three shots adrift at 147 in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed Nike, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp.

“Wow, today was a better round for me,” said Phalajivin, who opened with a 76 after finishing second to Rodriguez in Baguio and Batangas. “I now know the course a little more and that helps.”

Lovelynn Guioguio also shot a 71 to tie Sarah Ababa, who had a 73, at fourth at 148 while Chihiro Ikeda hardle moved up at 149 after a 71.

Jayvie Agojo, winner at ICTSI LPGT Riviera, closed out with a 35 for a 74 but still stood too far behind at 151 while Korean Kwon Seo Yon pooled a 153 after a 78 and Korean amateur Hwang Min Jeong made a 79 for a 159.

After a decent 74, Lucy Landicho found the going tough, fumbling with an atrocious 51 at the front before windup with a 90, tumbling down from joint second to a share of 10th with Anya Tanpinco, who rebounded with a 75, at 164.

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