Ardina falters but charges back to stay on top



ANTIPOLO – Dottie Ardina blew a two-shot lead but put on another late charge to sneak past a solid Lovelynn Guioguio and move ahead again by one with a 70 in the second round of the ICTSI Valley Golf Ladies Challenge at the Valley Golf Club here Wednesday.

Like in the opener of the 54-hole P500,000 tournament, Ardina birdied three of the last five holes of Executive Course to seize control of the stellar field that took turns in foiling her in the rain in the early going. But the Symetra Tour campaigner bucked the challenge and put on another strong finish to frustrate her rivals, her 36-34 card moving her 18 holes away from marking return stint on the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour with a victory.

“The greens became slower due to rain. I will try to hit closer to the pin tomorrow (today),” said Ardina, who fell behind by three to a hot-starting Guioguio after No. 10 but birdied Nos. 14, 16 and 17 inside 10 feet to regain the lead at five-under 139.

Dottie Ardina (right) and Lovelynn Guioguio go separate ways after reaching the green on No. 2.
Dottie Ardina (right) and Lovelynn Guioguio go separate ways after reaching the green on No. 2.

Guioguio, a former Team ICTSI mainstay, wiped out Ardina’s lead early with three birdies in the first seven holes aided by Ardina’s three-putt bogey on No. 8 then went three-up on a two-shot swing on the par-5 No, 10 which she birdied from six feet.

The Bukidnon native, however, dumped her tee-shot on the par-3 No. 11 into the greenside bunker then three-putted from a two-pin length distance for a double-bogey. She recovered a shot with a birdie on the 13th but failed to match Ardina’s scorching wind up.

Still, Guioguio stayed in the hunt for a breakthrough pro win with a 140 while Mia Piccio rebounded from a disastrous 76 with a tournament-best six-under 66 to make it a three-way fight at 142, three shots off Ardina.

“I’m hitting it well and I hope to continue to play my game,” said Piccio, who like Ardina is priming up for the LPGA Final Qualifying Stage in December.

Cyna Rodriguez also bounced back from an opening 75 with a three-under 69, spiked by four birdies in a seven-hole stretch from No. 7. But the four-leg winner stood five strokes off the pace at 144 and will need a low round to contend for another crown in the penultimate leg of the eight-stage circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and backed by Nike, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp.

Thai Amolkan Phalajivin, who foiled Rodriguez’s bid for a fourth straight win and fifth overall at ICTSI Splendido last month, failed to get going with another up-and-down round of three birdies against three bogeys for a 72 and a 145.

Jayvie Agojo, winner of the second leg of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. at Riviera, birdied three of the last seven holes to salvage a 72 and tie amateur Sofia Chabon of Team ICTSI, who fumbled with a 74, at 146 while Korean amateur Min Jeong Hwang carded a 73 for a 147, and Chihiro Ikeda matched par 72 for ninth with Lucy Landicho, who skied to a 77, at 151.

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