TAGAYTAY – Princess Superal blew a four-stroke lead as she floundered with her short game but pounced on Pauline del Rosario and Yuka Saso’s mishits on the closing hole to pound out a one-shot victory despite a 73 in the Philippine Ladies Open Golf Championship presented by Champion Infinity at Tagaytay Midlands here Friday.
Superal flubbed par putts from long range on Nos. 14-15, enabling The Country Club teammate Del Rosario and Saso to draw level at two-under overall heading to the par-5 finishing hole. But the two challengers hit their drives into a hazard and reached the green in four.
While Del Rosario had a long putt for par, Saso, also a former TCC mainstay, flubbed hers from four feet, missing forcing a playoff with 70s and allowing the former US Girls’ Junior champion, who closed out with a regulation par, to post her biggest triumph on the local front.
While she relishes her couple of victories on the ICTSI Ladies PGT, a pro circuit, the 19-year-old Superal considers her latest feat in a string of victories as doubly significant, this being the country’s premier ladies golf championship.
“It’s nice to finally win this crown. It’s an honor being able to join the elite circle of winners of this championship,” said Superal, who pooled a 214 and ended Thailand domination of the event the last three years.
But it didn’t come easy. While she appeared headed for a romp after storming to a four-shot lead over Del Rosario, Saso and Mikha Fortuna Thursday, Superal struggled with her irons, dropping crucial shots in the closing holes and aiding the trios’ fightback that set the stage for a pressure-packed finish in the 54-hole event organized by Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines.
But as Fortuna, in a flight behind with first day leader Cebuana Lois Kaye Go and Sofia Chabon, fell behind with a bogey, Del Rosario and Saso pressed their bid with pars to tie Superal at 53 holes, only to reel back with those errant drives. Del Rosario, the reigning Thailand Ladies Amateur Open champion, and Saso, winner of this year’s Thailand Junior title, ended up with 215s.
The win also kept Superal’s streak going. She closed out the 2015 with victories in Malaysia, Singapore and Jakarta then dominated the field to run away with the Hong Kong Ladies Amateur Open crown two weeks ago.
Other backers of the tournament were Filinvest Alabang, Inc., Metro Pacific, Shell, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Taishan Insurance Brokers, Inc., MEC, Jewelmer, G&W Clubshares, inc., Vermogen, Tagaytay Highlands Ladies Chapter, Alabang Ladies Golf Chapter, Canlubang Ladies Chapter, Forest Hills Ladies Circle, Manila Golf Ladies Chapter, URC-C2, Midlands Golf Club, Rockport and Impact Golf magazine.