Princess Superal took her familiar role as leader, shooting a two-under 70 and storming to a four-stroke lead over Pauline del Rosario, Yuka Saso and a charging Mikhaela Fortuna as erstwhile leader Lois Kaye Go skied to a 78 in the second round of the Philippine Ladies Open Golf Championship presented by Champion Infinity at Tagaytay Midlands in Tagaytay on Thursday.
Superal needed just four straight pars at the start to take charge then gunned down birdies on Nos. 5 and 7 with the top The Country Club bet keeping that two-under card on a birdie-bogey stint from No. 16 for a 34-36 card in another windy day for a 141.
That put the former US Girls’ Junior champion four shots clear off TCC teammates Fortuna and Del Rosario and Saso who pooled identical 145s after a 68, 70 and 73, respectively, heading to the final 18 holes of the event organized and conducted by the Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines.
Fortuna rebounded from a lackluster 77 in the first round with a tournament-best four-under card spiked by five birdies against a bogey, Del Rosario birdied the last two par-5 holes to get into the mix, while Saso recovered from a two-under card after nine holes with a birdie on No. 16.
Go, meanwhile, failed to sustain her impressive 70 Wednesday and never recovered from two bogeys in the first four holes, reeling farther back with four bogeys in a seven-hole stretch from No. 9 and limping home with a birdie-less 78. She slid to 148.
Bernice Olivarez-Ilas also rallied with a 71 to tie Sofia Chabon, who carded a 73, at 150, while Ashia Nocum matched par 72 for a 151, Sam Martirez shot a 73 for a 152 and Claire Legaspi also bounced back with a 72 for a 153.
Reigning national champion Harmie Constantino continued to grope form and hardly improved from an opening 78 with a 77 for a 155 in a tie with Thai Onkanon Soisuwan, who fumbled with a 76.
“I just hung in there while battling the strong wind. I didn’t force the issue and just made the most of my birdie chances,” said Superal after moving closer to stretching her win run to six after closing out the 2015 season with four wins abroad then dominating the field to win the Hong Kong Amateur Open two weeks ago.
But despite what seemed to be a big lead, Superal remains wary of her chances for the country’s premier ladies championship, saying no lead is safe on a demanding course as Midlands.
Stella Barnes struck back with an 85 to grab the Class A lead at 177, three shot ahead of erstwhile joint leader Riko Nagai, who faltered with a 92, while Korean Hee Sun Kim, who also shot an 88 Wednesday, fumbled with a 94 for a 182.