Princess Superal moved in the threshold of snapping a long title spell on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, pouncing on erstwhile leader Chihiro Ikeda’s early struggle and shaky finish to seize a six-stroke lead with a 69 in the second round of the ICTSI Tagaytay Highlands Challenge Highlands Golf and Country Club in Tagaytay on Thursday.
Superal went from one-down to two-up just after four holes as Ikeda fumbled with three straight bogeys from No. 2 with the former negating her bogey mishap on No. 5 with birdies on Nos. 7 and 9 before enduring windy condition at the back and preserving the tournament-best one-under card.
She actually stumbled with a bogey on No. 16 but holed out with a birdie and pulled away by six with a 140 as Ikeda dropped two strokes on the 16th and closed out with a bogey for a 76 and a 146.
“My driving has been consistent and my irons worked well,” said Superal, who hit nine fairways and 11 greens, capping her superb round with 29 putts.
“I hope my long wait is over and I’m really hungry for a win,” added the former US Girls Juniors champion, now 18 holes away from scoring a follow-up to her last LPGT win in 2016 at Eastridge, where she nipped then amateur Pauline del Rosario by one.
Cyna Rodriguez blew a two-under card after five holes as she went on a roller-coaster ride with two more birdies against three bogeys and a double-bogey to finish with a 71.
Though the former three-time LPGT Order of Merit winner moved up to third at 148, she lay too far behind at eight down heading to the final round of the 54-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
The rest, including the fancied Thais, continued to waver in tough condition with Sarinee Thitiratanakorn hobbling with a 79 for a 154 and compatriot Amolkan Phalajivin rebounding from an opening 79 with a 77 for a 156 for joint fifth with local amateur
Kristine Torralba, who skied to an 81 after a 75.
Former leg winner Sarah Ababa also stumbled with an 80 and dropped to joint seventh with Korean amateur Choeun Bang, who made a 79, and Filipina amateur Mafy Singson, who turned in an 81, while Tirana Yoopan, also of Thailand, carded a second 80 for a 160 in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZGm PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.