PH ends up 3rd as mighty Korea completes 3-peat

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Team Philippines ran out of holes in its fiery comeback bid, closing out with a 145 and losing the runner-up honors to Australia in the countback in the Queen Sirikit Cup which South Korea ruled for the third straight time in Jeju, South Korea on Friday.

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While the weather improved after two days of rain, wind and fog at the Ora Country Club here, Princess Superal, Yuka Saso and Pauline del Rosario still struggled in the early going with Superal fumbling with a 38 and the two hobbling with identical 40s, one of which counted for the team’s atrocious 78 at the turn.

That dropped the Philippines from second to seventh in the ranking until Superal caught fire late and close out with a birdie-par-eagle feat for a 33 and Saso birdying three of the last five for a 34. But the Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines-backed squad’s combined five-under par backside output of 67 could only lift the team back to No. 3 as Australia rallied with a 142 to nip the Philippines at 433.

The hosts slowed down a bit with a 136 after a stirring 134 in harsh condition on the up-and-down layout Thursday but still ripped the field with a 410 aggregate, a whopping 23-stroke romp over the Aussies and the Filipinas.

Korea thus completed a three-peat after dominating their Asia-Pacific regional rivals in Malaysia in 2014 and in Hong Kong last year with the hosts winning this annual event for the ninth time in the last 10 years.

Taiwan shot a 143 to place fourth at 434 while Thailand rallied with a 140 and tied Malaysia, which assembled a 142, at fifth at 437 followed by China (145-438), joint eighth placers Japan (141-442) and New Zealand (152-442), India (147-447), Hong Kong (149-453), Singapore (147-455), Indonesia (152-465) and Myanmar (154-475).

Lee Gayoung, who didn’t count in the second round despite a 69, led the hosts’ final round assault with a 66 while Park Hyun-kyung fired a 69 and went on to cop the individual crown for the second straight year with a 208, nipping teammate Choi Hye-jin, who failed to count in the final round with a 73 for a 209.

Lee completed Korea’s imposing 1-2-3 finish with a 210.

Third after two rounds, Saso slipped to joint fifth with Malaysian Ashley Lau, who matched par 72, at 217 behind Taiwan’s Ching-Tzu Chen, who had a 214 after a 69 while Superal’s rally earned her a share of seventh with Hannah Green of Australia (73) and China’s Du Mohan ((73) at 218.

Del Rosario, who led the team’s charge with a 70 in the second round, finished at joint 12th at 220.

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