Princess Superal cashed in on a three-shot swing on No. 14 and turned a one-stroke deficit into a one-shot cushion over South Korean Hwang Min Jeong with a two-under 70 in the second round of the ICTSI Mt. Malarayat Ladies Classic at Mt. Malarayat’s composite courses here in Lipa, Batangas on Thursday.
Superal canned in a birdie from 12 feet on the par-4 14th then watched Hwang hole out with a six after an errant drive and a poor approach shot as the Filipina ace surged ahead after trailing by two in the early going of a fiercely fought duel between two amateur hotshots.
With a 36-hole total of 141, Superal moved closer to nailing a second leg win on the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour after the top The Country Club bet edged reigning back-to-back Order of Merit winner Cyna Rodriguez in a playoff at Wack Wack last April.
“I need to play my A-game tomorrow (today) to score another win since Hwang is playing solid,” said Superal, who has won three titles in the country’s first ladies pro circuit sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Hwang’s 71 gave her a 142 aggregate, setting the stage for a final round shootout for the crown with Rodriguez and Jayvie Agojo laying three strokes off the pace at 144 after a 71 and 72, respectively.
The 14-year-old Hwang actually broke away from a four-way tie early, birdying Nos. 2 and 5 but Superal bounced back with her own birdies on No. 7 and 9 as the duo made the turn at 34 and left erstwhile co-leaders Rodriguez and fellow amateur Abby Arevalo behind with 38 and 39, respectively.
Superal fell behind again with a bogey on No. 10 but went 2-up on that 3-shot swing although she dropped a shot on a missed-green bogey mishap on No. 16 and needed to match Hwang’s closing birdie to preserve a one-stroke lead.
Agojo recovered from a poor 38 start with three birdies in the first four holes at Mt. Lubo to wheel back into contention but the former Philippine Ladies Open champion and winner of the Riviera leg last year stumbled with a bogey on the par-3 17th and settled for a 72.
Rodriguez, who matched Superal, Hwang and Arevalo’s opening 71, went on a rollercoaster ride at Mt. Makulot, opening with a bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey run then dropped another stroke on the ninth for a 38. She birdied No. 13 but fumbled with a bogey on the 15th and carded a 73.
Sarah Ababa, winner of the Sherwood leg of the circuit backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp last June, also threatened with a three-birdie string from No. 12 but bogeyed the 17th and needed to birdie the last hole to salvage a 70 and a 145.
Arevalo never recovered from a shaky start of 39 and limped home with a 88 for a 77, tumbling down to sixth at 144 while Lovelynn Guioguio carded a 74 for a 149, amateur Yuka Saso and Apple Fudolin turned in a 74 and 76, respectively, for 151s and Korean Kim So Un and amateur Sofia Chabon stood at 152 after a 75 and 77, respectively.