Korean Hwang Ye-nah dispatched Mia Piccio with a solid start then matched amateur Princess Superal’s six-under 66 to wrest a two-stroke lead over the reigning US Girls Junior champion as the rest reeled back with over-par scores in the second round of the rich ICTSI Ladies Open at Southlinks Golf Club on Thursday.
Hwang birdied the opening hole and rattled off four straight birdies from No. 3 to drop erstwhile joint leader Piccio then added two more birdies at the back to negate a lone bogey mishap on No. 10, seizing the solo lead at 10-under 134 with 18 holes left in the $75,000 event serving as the kickoff leg of the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour and fourth stage of the Taiwan LPGA.
Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsa-kul actually shot a three-under 69 but the Thai bet stood seven strokes off Hwang at 141 for third, virtually yielding the top $15,000 purse to the 21-year-old Korean as Superal, just two down at 136, isn’t qualified for the money purse.
“I want to win,” said Hwang, who banked on her solid iron game and putting to piece together two superb rounds on the dreaded tight, hazard-laden layout that took the fight out of a number of fancied bets in the event presented by Champion Infinity and sponsored by ICTSI.
Piccio, impressive with a lead-sharing 68 in the first round, stayed in the hunt with two birdies after six holes, but lost her rhythm and focus after a bogey on the seventh. She parred the next two but stumbled with a double-bogey on No. 10, dropped another stroke on the next and made another bogey on No. 15.
“I was really off,” rued Piccio, who did hole out with a birdie but hardly bounced back into contention, her 74 dropping her to fourth at 142, now eight shots adrift.