Chihiro Ikeda stumbled with a late bogey that stymied her charge coming out of an hour-long rain delay but her even-par 72 still put her three strokes clear of Heidi Chua at the start of the ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship at the Orchard Golf and Country Club’s Player course in Dasmarinas, Cavite.
Ikeda, the former amateur hotshot seeking to end a long search for a maiden victory on the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, blew a one-under start at the front with back-to-back bogeys from No. 10. But the former Southeast Asian Games individual gold medalist settled down during the break after the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. suspended play due to heavy rain.
Ikeda birdied No. 13 at the resumption then holed out with another six-footer for birdie on No. 15 to regain control only to drop a shot on the tough par-4 17th after missing the green and flubbing a seven-footer for par for a 35-37.
Chua, meanwhile, birdied the last hole to card a 75 to emerge the surprise solo second placer in the strongest start so far by the former Phl Ladies Open winner in the circuit sponsored by ICTSI.
Chua, who has had so-so finishes in an on-and-off campaign in the country’s premier tour backed by Custom Clubmakers, Adidas, KZG, Sharp, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Champion, TaylorMade and Pacsports, looked headed for another disastrous start with a 39 and dropped another stroke on No. 15 and fell farther back. But she birdied the 16th, bogeyed the next but holed out with another birdie to move up to second as erstwhile pursuer Jayvie Agojo wavered at the resumption and fumbled with five straight bogeys from No 13.
Agojo, a teammate of Ikeda in a number of national teams, wound up with a 78 as the former Philippine Ladies Open champion and 2014 LPGT Riviera leg winner slipped to joint eighth with last year’s Sherwood leg winner Sarah Ababa and amateur Chanelle Avaricio.