Bernice Olivarez-Ilas wavered at the finish and fumbled with a one-over 73, dropping two strokes off Huang Yu Ping and Hou Yu Sang of Chinese Taipei and local star Hu Jing at the start of the Espirt Hong Kong Ladies Open Amateur at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling late Wednesday.
Olivarez-Ilas blew a one-under card with two late miscues, dropping a stroke on No. 14 on a wayward approach shot and hitting an errant drive on the next on her way to a double-bogey, slipping to joint sixth with Li Yuen of Hong Kong.
“I miscalculated a couple of shots,” said Olivarez-Ilas, seeking to retain the crown won by former The Country Club teammate and now Symetra Tour campaigner Princess Superal in runaway fashion.
But the Filipina bet, who has won a pro tournament on the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour last year, will have to work extra hard to close in on Huang, Hou and Hu, who shot identical 71s at the well-kept New Course.
Sofia Chabon, the other TCC mainstay and winner of the Costa Mesa and Pradera Ladies tournament recently, stood three shots off the joint leaders at 74, along with Annyka Cayabyab and five others.
The 16-year-old Chabon birdied the first hole but struggled with her putting the rest of the way and finished with three bogeys.
Olivares-Ilas also started out strong, birdying Nos. 3 and 6 then drilling in a 30-footer on No. 7 to negate her missed-green bogeys on Nos. 4 and 8. She hacked another solid approach shot inside 100 yards for another birdie on No. 11 but the 15-year-old shotmaker bogeyed the 14th after dumping her second shot into the grassy area on the right side of the fairway.
She mishit her drive on the next to left side and was forced to play out. She then came up short on her approach and ended up with a double bogey.