Superal nails 2nd win as Del Rosario wavers

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Princess Superal hoists her second LPGT trophy after another escape at ICTSI Eastridge Invitational. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Princess Superal hoists her second LPGT trophy after another escape at ICTSI Eastridge Invitational. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Princess Superal put on another brilliant windup to go two-for-two as pro on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, knocking down late birdies to edge amateur Pauline del Rosario by one on a solid five-under 67 and capture the ICTSI Eastridge Ladies Invitational crown at the Eastridge Golf Club in Binangonan, Rizal on Friday.

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Superal banged in a five-footer on the par-3 16th and tapped in after her eagle-putt bid from 25 feet on the par-5 closing hole lipped out then watched former The Country Club teammate Del Rosario crack under pressure, completing her rally from one down with three holes to go to a one-shot victory on a bogey-free 34-33 card.

Del Rosario, who led Superal by two after 36 holes on a fiery 69 Thursday, also closed out with a flawless 70 but just couldn’t pull it off in the end, including a sorry miss on the 54th hole when she misread a side-hiller from just around three feet, missing forcing a playoff and enabling the former US Girls Junior champion to escape another wringer of a win.

Superal also nipped Del Rosario and Thais Aunchisa Utama and Ajira Nualraksa in a four-way playoff to snare the ICTSI Sherwood Ladies Classic title at Sherwood where she launched her pro career three weeks ago.

“I’m super happy to win but I didn’t expect it, given Pau’s equally solid game. But I really did my best and thank God I did it again,” said Superal, who banked another P150,000 after topping the eighth leg of this year’s 10-stage circuit sponsored by ICTSI with a seven-under 209 aggregate.

It was sorry loss indeed for the young Del Rosario, the reigning Thailand Ladies Amateur Open champion who even went 3-up over Superal with a birdie on No. 4 then held sway majority of the way until she faltered on her last putt.

“My ball-striking is quite solid and I think that’s the key to my victory. I also made two late good shots and made the putts,” added Superal, the F Siblings and PB Farms-backed pro who finally hit back-to-back birdies from No. 6 to move behind Del Rosario, matched the latter’s birdie on the par-5 13th then pulled even with that clutch five-footer on No. 16.

Del Rosario, who also missed a couple of birdie chances before sinking her second birdie on No. 13, wound up with a 210 for second and took the low amateur honors while Cyna Rodriguez blew a scorching start with a sputtering finish and ended up third with a 71 and a 215. She took the runner-up prize of P95,000.

“She had a hard time gaining her rhythm but I knew it’s just a matter of time before she’d get going and hit those birdies,” said TCC coach Bong Lopez, who also handles the pros who vied for the crown, including Superal, Rodriguez and Chihiro Ikeda.

Superal fell by three with a run of pars in the early going as Del Rosario birdied No. 4 with Rodriguez, in a flight ahead, battling back from four-down to within one with four birdies in the first six holes.

But the two-time LPGT Order of Merit winner failed to sustain her charge and made three bogeys in the next five holes then settled for pars the rest of the way.

Amateur Bernice Olivarez-Ilas tied TCC teammate Del Rosario with a birdie on No. 1 but the Olivarez College student and winner of the LPGT Beverly Place leg last April wavered with four bogeys in the last 11 holes, finishing with a 75 for joint fourth with Ikeda at 216.

Ikeda, who broke a long title spell with a victory at LPGT Orchard Classic last June, also stayed in contention with a birdie on No. 2 but like majority of the rest, sputtered midway through another tough day at the mountain-top layout. She fumbled with six bogeys against a birdie but made a last-hole eagle to pocket the P60,000 third prize.

Mikha Fortuna and Kayla Nocum, both mainstays of Team TCC, took the next two spots at sixth and seventh with 218 and 222 after a 71 and 77, respectively, while last year’s Sherwood leg winner Sarah Ababa carded a 74 for eighth at 230.

Lovelyn Guioguio turned in a 73 while Apple Fudolin skied to an 82 as the duo finished tied at ninth at 231 in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Sharp, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Champion, TaylorMade, Ping, Yamaha and Pacsports.

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