Princess Superal missed capping a fiery windup with a final hole bogey as she settled for a one-under 66 and a one-stroke lead over Thai Chonlada Chayanun and amateur Samantha Dizon at the start of the ICTSI South Forbes Ladies Invitational at the South Forbes Golf Club in Silang, Cavite on Tuesday.
Superal birdied the first two holes then came out of a roller-coaster stint of three birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey with back-to-back birdies from No. 16. But the Symetra Tour campaigner missed going 2-up with a flubbed par-putt from six feet on the par-4 18th, enabling Chayanun and Dizon and the rest of the fancied bets to stay within striking distance of the former US Girls’ Junior champion in the P750,000 championship sponsored by ICTSI held for the first time here.
“I didn’t expect to lead since I’m still adjusting to the speed of the greens,” said Superal, who used to dominate the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour as an amateur and pro before moving to the Symetra Tour. “But I think I’m hitting my irons better than the last time (at the Philippine Ladies Masters).”
Like Superal and majority of the early contenders, Chayanun and Dizon fell prey on the tough finishing hole with undulating surface, ending up with bogeys for joint second at 67. The Thai had earlier birdied Nos. 14 and 17 while Dizon also birdied the par-3 17th to stay in contention in the 54-hole tournament serving as the final leg of a record 11-stage circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Dizon, one of the new members of Team The Country Club, made quite an impression in the early going when she fought back from a triple bogey on the par-5 No. 1 and a bogey on No. 3 with five birdies to round out the frontside, including four straight from No. 4.
But after drilling another birdie on No. 11 to seize the lead at two-under, she stumbled with back-to-back bogeys from No. 12 and slipped to joint second with Chayanun with a birdie-bogey finish.
Chayanun, seeking to better her joint runner-up finish at the Philippine Ladies Masters at TCC two weeks ago, matched Superal and Dizon’s 32 start but reeled back with bogeys on Nos. 10 and 13 before bouncing back with two late birdies.
Former three-time Ladies Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit winner Cyna Rodriguez and recent Forest Hills leg champion Chihiro Ikeda also bogeyed No. 18 and wound up with 69s for joint fourth while LPGA and Symetra Tour veteran Dottie Ardina birdied the last hole to salvage a three-over 70 in a tie with Thai Yupaporn Kawinpakorn and Marvi Monsalve.
Pauline del Rosario, winner of four of the last seven legs of the LPGT, failed to get going, making the turn with a birdie-less seven-over card then battling to an even 34 at the back for a 74, eight strokes off Superal in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.
Thai Jaruporn Palakawong Na Ayutthaya carded a 71 while amateur Sam Bruce birdied No. 16 for a 72, a stroke ahead of Thai Numa Gulyanamitta and fellow amateur Kristine Torralba, who groped for identical 73s.