ANTIPOLO – Dottie Ardina shrugged off an early threat from Lovelynn Guioguio and went on to fire a near-flawless two-under 70 and coast to a five-shot romp over Mia Piccio in the ICTSI Valley Golf Ladies Challenge at the Valley Golf Club’s Executive Course here Thursday.
Just when Ardina braced for a tough finish after Guioguio birdied the opening hole to tie, the Symetra Tour campaigner countered with birdies on Nos. 3 and 7 then watched Guioguio and Mia Piccio crack under pressure to pull away and instead cruise to victory.
With a second 70 and 54-hole seven-under 209 aggregate, Ardina won by five over Piccio, who negated her bogeys on Nos. 3 and 5 with birdies on Nos. 7 and 9 but failed to launch a backside rally, finishing with a 72 and 214 for runner-up honors in the P500,000 event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
“To be honest, I just believed in myself and kept thinking that I’m better than them,” said Ardina, who pocketed the top purse of P80,000 in her return to the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour. She dominated the circuit’s first two legs in its inaugurals last year before trying her luck in the LPGA.
Guioguio, who showed a lot of promise after stalking Ardina with 71 and 69 in the first two rounds, lost her touch, rhythm and form after birdying No. 1, dropping two strokes on No. 4 and bogeying the sixth. She birdied the par-3 11th for the second time in three days but double-bogeyed Nos. 13 and 18 and made a bogey on No. 14 to limp with a 78,
From a title contender, the Bukidnon lass turned out to be just one of the rest, tumbling to joint fourth with Jayvie Agojo, who matched par 72, at 218.
“Even as Lovelynn crumbled, I continued playing my game, keeping my focus on getting birdies and in going under,” said Ardina, who made the turn at 34 and went five-up on Guioguio, who hobbled with a 38, and Piccio, who salvaged a 36, and rolled to victory with a birdie-bogey stint at the back.
Piccio, priming up for the LPGA Tour Final Stage in December like Ardina, birdied No. 10 but wavered with two bogeys against a birdie in the last seven holes to settle for second worth P56,000.
Thai Amolkan Phalajivin, who upended four-leg winner Cyna Rodriguez at ICTSI Splendido last month, closed out with a 71 and snatched third place at even 216.
Sofia Chabon turned in a 75 for a 221 and took the low amateur honors while sharing sixth place with Rodriguez, who fought back with a 69 in the second round and birdied the opening hole only to fumble with four bogeys and a double-bogey for a five-over 77, her worst output in seven legs of the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.-organized circuit she had dominated with four victories.
Chihiro Ikeda fired a 71 and wound up tied for eighth with Korean amateur Min Jeong Hwang, who had a 75, at 222 while Lucy Landicho ended up 10th at 227 after a 76 in the event backed by Nike, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp.