Symetra Tour campaigner Mia Piccio birdied two of the last five holes to fire a four-under 68 and catch Korean Hwang Ye-nah at the helm as fancied Jennifer Rosales wavered and Dottie Ardina floundered at the start of the $75,000 ICTSI Ladies Open at Southlinks Golf Club in Las Piñas on Wednesday.
Hwang, 21, actually sizzled at the back and early at the front in one of the early flights but blew a six-under card with a double-bogey mishap on the par-4 ninth, settling for two 34s, later matched by Piccio, who took the cudgels for the hosts after two of the local aces struggled on the par-72 layout which still proved daunting in a wind-less but rain-hit day.
Amateur Princess Superal also showed the kind of stuff she’s made of, rebounding from a two-over card after four holes with four birdies in an eight-hole stretch from No. 6, her backside 33 netting her a two-under 70 for joint third with American Tiffany Tavee, a playoff loser to Thai Nontaya Srisawang in Taiwan LPGA’s third leg last month, who snapped a run of pars with birdies on No. 4 and on the difficult No. 9 for a bogey-free 34-36.
Yuka Saso, the 13-year-old gem of a find and member of the ICTSI-The Country Club amateur squad, hit four birdies to buck a double-bogey and bogey mishaps for a 71 for joint fifth with Taiwanese pro Yeh Hsin-ning, who gunned down five birdies but stumbled with two bogeys and a double-bogey.
Rosales actually stayed within striking distance at 72 but not after dropping two strokes on the last four holes, hampering the two-time LPGA Tour winner’s charge that took off with birdies on Nos. 2 and 4.
“I was a bit unlucky in the closing holes. I’ll just try to bounce back tomorrow (today) and hopefully I will play better,” said Rosales, who also bogeyed No. 9 but birdied the par-3 12 before salvaging a bogey on No. 15 off the hazard and muffing a five-footer on the 18th.