Pauline del Rosario holed out with a chip-in birdie to check an impending skid as she salvaged a one-over 62 and edged closer to a second straight crown with a four-stroke lead over Chihiro Ikeda after two rounds of the ICTSI Baguio Ladies Classic in Baguio on Thursday.
Del Rosario mastered the Baguio Country Club’s frontside with a two-under 31 but failed to solve the tricky last nine holes where her conservative approach backfired with poor putting. She blew a solid start with a pair of back-to-back bogeys from Nos. 12 and 16.
But she recovered a bit with a 20-yard chip for birdie on No. 18, her pair of 31s netting her a 36-hole aggregate of four-over 126, counting her opening 64, four clear off Ikeda heading to the last 18 holes of the P1 million event sponsored by ICTSI.
“I played a lot better today (yesterday) than in the first round. My game plan at the back is to play it short since if you overshoot the green, it’s going to be tougher to recover from the hazards,” said Del Rosario, who birdied Nos. 6 and 9 inside five feet and moved closer to scoring a follow-up to her five-shot breakthrough triumph at Orchard three weeks ago.
“But I had terrible putting from hole Nos. 12 to 17. I kept missing the putts. It’s a good thing that I was able to birdie the last,” said Del Rosario, who remains wary of her chances in the fifth leg of this year’s Ladies Philippine Golf Tour organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“My lead is not safe yet but I’m happy to have an edge going to the last round,” she added.
Ikeda is also quite satisfied with where she stood after a six-over 39 start as she fought back with a two-under 26 to take second spot at 130.
While the rest continued to struggle at BCC’s par-3 littered backside, the Orchard leg winner last year tamed it with precision shots, birdying No. 10 then stringing three straight birdies from No. 14 to negate her bogeys on Nos. 11 and 13.
Apple Fudolin, who matched Del Rosario’s opening 64, fizzled out early with a four-over card in a three-hole stretch from No. 2 and wound up with a 68. She dropped to third at 132, six shots off the lead.
Thai Tiranan Yoopan bounced back from a 69 with a 65 but remained too far behind at 134 while amateur Kristine Torralba carded a 67 for solo fifth at 135.
Another Thai Numa Gulyanamitta likewise rebounded with a 65 for a 136 while compatriot Ananya Vitayakonkomol wavered with a 69 to drop to joint seventh with Sarah Ababa, who hobbled with a 72, at 137 while Supakchaya Pattaranankrueang, also from Thailand, shot a 68 for a 138 and Chatprapa Siriprakob pooled a 141 after a 72 in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf, is staking P250,000 to the winner.