Ikeda edges Thai in playoff, snares LPGT crown

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Chihiro Ikeda survived a bogey duel with Wannasiri Sirisampant at the end of regulation then out-steadied the Thai with a routine par in sudden death to capture the ICTSI Forest Hills Ladies Challenge at the Forest Hills Golf and Country Club in Antipolo on Friday.

On their second trip on the par-4 18th, Ikeda made it in two while Sirisampant overshot the green and needed a 12-foot putt for par that came up short, enabling the Fil-Japanese to clinch the victory from three feet while ending the latter’s quest for a follow-up to her maiden win at Orchard last year.

“It’s been a while since I last won but it was worth the wait,” said Ikeda, who barely forced a playoff at 218 with a 75 after Sirisampant matched her bogey-bogey windup in regulation for a 76. “My hard work and training with coach Bong (Lopez) paid off.”

Chihiro Ikeda acknowledges the cheers from the gallery after holing out with a two-putt par to nip Thai Wannasiri Sirisampant in their sudden death for the ICTSI Forest Hills Ladies Challenge crown. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Ikeda, who fell by two behind Sirisampant after 18 holes and moved within one

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Thursday, fell behind by four as the Thai birdied the first two holes and former bogeyed No. 3. But Ikeda gunned down birdies on Nos. 12 and 14 and grabbed a one-stroke lead as Sirisampant bogeyed No. 11 and dropped two strokes on No. 13.

But the Thai birdied No. 14 to draw level and the duo matched closing bogeys to set the stage for the playoff at 218. Ikeda took the P150,000 purse with the 26-year-old Thai and winner at Southwoods in 2015 settling for P95,000.

Five down at the start of the final round, Pauline del Rosario birdied the first two holes but the 18-year-old winner of three of the last four legs of the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour sponsored by ICTSI, struggled the rest of the way, missing a couple of birdie chances and fumbling with three bogeys against one birdie for a 72. She ended up third at 219 worth P60,000.

Former three-time LPGT Order of Merit winner Cyna Rodriguez likewise stayed in the hunt despite a four-par start but she stumbled with two bogeys and a double bogey in a birdie-less stint in the next nine holes then hit two birdies in the next three holes only to drop another stroke on the 17th for a 75. She ended up tied for fourth at 220 with Thai Supakchaya Pattaranakrueang, who carded a 73.

Mookharin Ladgratok finished solo sixth at 224 after a 76 while former LPGT Splendido leg winner Amolkan Phalijivin and Tiranan Yoopan pooled a 231 and 232 after a 77 and 74 for seventh and eighth places, respectively, as five Thais finished in the Top 10 of the eighth leg of the country’s premier ladies circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

Mia Piccio skied to a 78 for ninth at 234 while Korean Euna Koh turned in a 75 and wound up 10th at 236 in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.

Meanwhile, Splendido Taal will host the next leg on November 21 to 23 while the third ICTSI Philippine Ladies Masters will be held December 7 to 9 at The Country Club. The circuit winds up at South Forbes Golf Club on December 19 to 21 for the ICTSI South Forbes Ladies Invitational.

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