Pavarisa Yoktuan pounced on Dottie Ardina’s wobbly start to fashion out a lopsided wire-to-wire seven-stroke victory in the ICTSI Splendido Ladies Classic yesterday, becoming the second Thai player to win after four legs of the 2018 Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.
Bracing for a fierce final round duel with the local ace, Yoktuan hardly found a challenge, pulling away by five despite a par-game at the turn as Ardina self-destructed with three bogeys in a birdie-less frontside stint despite near-ideal condition at the rolling Splendido Taal Golf Club course.
It was cruise control for the Thai bet from there as Ardina failed to rebound with three more bogeys against a lone birdie and Yoktuan scooted home to victory in sweltering heat past noon with a closing 72 on a two-birdie, two-bogey stint for a 54-hole total of 210 worth P150,000.
“It’s a nice feeling to win here for the first time,” said the 24-year-old Yoktuan who placed third in last week’s ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational won by Chihiro Ikeda in a three-hole playoff over Korean amateur Lee Ji Hyeon. “The greens were fast but overall, the course was in perfect shape.”
She thus added up to the growing list of Thai winners in recent LPGT tournaments, including Renuka Suksukont at the Phl Ladies Masters and Yupaporn Kawinpakorn at South Forbes last December and Beverly Place last month with Ikeda breaking their romp with a victory at Eagle Ridge earlier this month.
Ikeda actually tried to give chase in an earlier flight but the nine-shot overnight deficit proved too big to overcome for the Fil-Japanese shotmaker, who hit three birdies in the first 12 holes but could only come closest at six. She bogeyed No. 15 for a 70 and tied Ardina, who limped with a 77 after two 70s, and Korean amateur Kim Hee Ji, who matched par 72, at 217.
Ikeda and Ardina split the combined P155,000 purse with Kim taking the low amateur honors in the event sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Another Thai, Kanyalak Preedasuttijit, turned in a 73 and ended up fifth at 218 while Princess Superal shot a 70 to tie pre-tournament favorite Yupaporn Kawinpakorn, who fired a 71, and Chatprapa Siriprakob, who carded a third 73, at 219.
Superal, 11 strokes behind at the start of the final round, actually made an early two-birdie charge after three holes and posted a four-under card after 10. But the many-time LPGT winner faded with three bogeys against a birdie in the last eight holes and settled for a 70.
Thanuttra Boonraksasat shot a 75 and finished ninth at 220 while reigning LPGT Order of Merit winner Pauline del Rosario failed to get going and wound up with a 75 and a 222 for 10th in a rare poor finish in the circuit backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZGm PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.