Yupaporn Kawinpakorn recovered from a wobbly start with another blazing finish as the Thai veteran re-asserted her mastery of the local aces, beating Chihiro Ikeda by three with a third straight 68 to claim the ICTSI Beverly Place Ladies Classic crown in Mexico Pampanga on Thursday.
Kawinpakorn blew a one-stroke lead with a bogey on No. 5 but fought back from one down by ripping Beverly Place Golf Club’s backside with a four-under 33, spiked by a three-birdie binge from No. 15, as she dominated the cream of the local crop again the way she did at South Forbes three weeks ago.
“I knew from the start that I could win again. I trained hard and so confident of my game,” said Kawinpakorn, who with a new coach, actually had to make some adjustments with her back- and downswing but still dished out three days of brilliant shotmaking, iron play and putting to pool a nine-under 204 aggregate and bank another P150,000.
Ikeda, whose 68-69 kept her within sight of the Samutprakan native, pounced on Kawinpakorn’s early bogey and knocked down a birdie on No. 6 to wrest the lead. But the Fil-Japanese groped for her putting form, muffing a number of birdie putts, including on the last two par-5s which she birdied Wednesday. She wound up with a 70 and lost by three with a 207 worth P95,000.
Dottie Ardina, whose four-under 67 in the second round sparked hopes of a big comeback from the LPGA and Symetra Tour campaigner, fell by three with a bogey on the second hole and, like Ikeda, failed to close in again with a couple of flubbed birdie putts.
She finally hit them on Nos. 14 and 15 but missed again on the last three and ended up matching Ikeda’s output for a 208 and received P60,000.
While the locals struggled on Beverly’s unpredictable surface on a hot but windy day, Kawinpakorn flashed awesome touch that complemented her superb iron game to produce those decisive birdie putts.
Cyna Rodriguez, who used to dominate the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour where she won three Order of Merit titles, also birdied Nos. 15, 16 and 17 and tied Ardina’s tournament-best 67 to place fourth at 209 while Thai Tiranan Yoopan also rallied with a 68 to finish fifth at 211.
Princess Superal failed to break par in three days over a short course which suits her game, settling for a second 71 and dropping to sixth at 214 followed by Aunchia Utama of Thailand, who fumbled with a 73 for a 216 and Pimpadsorn Sangkagaro, who also made a 73 for a 218.
Fellow Thais Alisara Wedchakama and Anayya Vitayakonkomol shot a 73 and 74, respectively, and finished tied for ninth at 220 in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.