SILANG, Cavite – Princess Superal capped her two-week romp with a five-stroke victory over Gretchen Villacencio at ICTSI Riviera Ladies Classic, overcoming a fumbling start with a strong finish for a closing 71 at Riviera’s Couples course here yesterday.
Hounded by Villacencio and Cyna Rodriguez in the early going, Superal rebounded from a double-bogey mishap on No. 5 with three birdies in the last 12 holes then watched her rivals fade with horrendous finishes to post another runaway triumph in the sixth leg of the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.
Though it paled in comparison with her record setting 16-stroke win at Tagaytay Highlands last week, it kept Superal on track in her continuing effort to build some confidence heading to her Symetra Tour campaign in the US two weeks from now.
“It’s a nice win, a big confidence-boost. It was tough at the start and I knew I had to go under to win. My driving and irons clicked and my putting helped me a lot,” said Superal, who hit all but two fairways and used 27 putts for that 71 and a five-under 211 total worth P150,000.
“I’m also thankful to coach Bong (Lopez), who kept reminding me on how to handle the pressure and avoid unnecessary mistakes. He also stressed the need for regular practice to keep my form heading to Symetra,” she added.
After holding her ground with 69-70 in the first two days, Villacencio succumbed to final round pressure, stumbling with two double-bogeys and four bogeys against three birdies for a 77. But her closing five-over card still proved enough to net a career-best finish at 216 worth P95,000.
Korean Kim Hee Ji carded a 75 for a 218 and fended off compatriot Bang Choeun, who fired a 71-219, in their spirited battle for third place and low amateur honors in the event sponsored by ICTSI.
Chihiro Ikeda blew a one-under card after nine holes with two bogeys at the back, hobbling with a 73 for fifth at 220 worth P60,000 while another Korean amateur and reigning Phl Amateur Open champion, Hwang Min-Jeong sputtered with a 74 and tied Rodriguez, who skied to an 80, at sixth at 221.
Rodriguez, who put herself back in contention with a second round best 69, birdied the opening hole and forced a three-way tie for the lead on No. 2, hinting at a tight finish in the P750,000 tournament organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
But the former three-time Order of Merit winner double-bogeyed No. 3 and lost her rhythm, touch and poise the rest of the way, limping with seven more bogeys for that eight-over card. She received P52,000.
Marvi Monsalve shot a 74 to finish eighth at 222 while local amateurs Missy Legaspi and Mafy Singson took the next two spots at 224 and 227 with 77 and 80, respectively, in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZGm PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.