North edges South, leads LPGT Duel

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Heidi Chua and Lucy Landicho hacked out a tough 1-up win over Apple Fudolin and Barsy Leonen as Team North pulled off a 2 1/2-1 1/2 lead over Team South in the opener of ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour’s Duel—North vs South at Cangolf’s South course in canlubang on Wednesday.

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The Chua-Landicho tandem went 2-up after 12 holes but yielded No. 14 before holding on to the finish to preserve their edge in the four-ball format and lift the Northerners to the early lead in three-day tournament capping the inaugural season of the ladies pro circuit.

North’s Jayvie Agojo and Lina de Guzman failed to shake off South’s Lovelynn Guioguio and Sarah Ababa as the two teams battled it out to an all-square match in the first group before South skipper Sylvia Torres and former Southern Ladies Open champion Anya Tanpinco dominated North’s team captain Mary Grace Estuesta and Marjorie Pulumbarit, 4 and 3.

Cyna Rodriguez and Reb Bareng of Team North, however, pounced on their lone rival in Chihiro Ikeda in the last flight of the best-ball to fashion out an 8&6 romp and level the match at 1 1/2 -1 1/2.

But Chua and Landicho foiled Leonen and Fudolin’s bid for a draw as they came through with a tough par on the 18th in the third group to eke out the lead-preserving 1-up victory in the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

“The key today was my three solid teams clicked,” said Estuesta, who admitted having been dominated early by Torres and Tanpinco. “But it was fun playing with them.”

It was really entertaining to see the country’s lady pros slug it out in this novel team play in a friendly but highly competitive level.

Torres vowed to strike back tomorrow (today) with new combinations, so does Estuesta who expects a different kind of battle in the four-balls [alternate shot].

“The game will be different tomorrow [today]because of the format but we’ll have very slight changes,” said Estuesta, who also thanked ICTSI big boss Ricky Razon for putting up the tournament backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp.

While Team North seeks to pad its lead, the South squad is out to at least draw level or seize control heading to the deciding singles matches tomorrow. The first team to win 8.5 points clinches the Duel.

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