Piccio ties Hwang at 68 in ICTSI Ladies Open

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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.

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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.

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