TARLAC – Chamchoi Saraporn came out a bit better than the rest at the punishing backside of Luisita layout, closing out with a 37 for a 72 and a two-stroke lead over Sarah Ababa at the start of the ICTSI Luisita Ladies Challenge here Wednesday.
Chamchoi blew a two-under card after eight holes with two bogeys, including on the par-4 18th but the Thai ace stayed on course for a crack at a first-ever championship after runner-up finishes at Splendido and Wack Wack legs of the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.
A flight behind Chamchoi, Ababa matched the Thai’s 35-stroke output at the front but like the rest of the compact field, she faltered at the back of the tight, wooded par-72 layout, hobbling with three bogeys, including on both par-5s, and dropping another shot on the testy par-3 17th for a 74.
Still, that two-over card kept the Filipina bet in the hunt for a second straight crown after scoring a breakthrough at LPGT Sherwood last month although she will be up against a slew of foreign challengers in the last two days of the 54-hole tournament organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
American Cristina Corpus, who has had a series of forgettable finishes in the early going of the ICTSI-sponsored circuit, also turned in a 35 after nine holes on a hot, humid day but bogeyed the first two holes at the back then dropped two more strokes on Nos. 16 and 17 to finish with a 75.
Thais Amolkan Phalijivin and Pattaranakrueang Supakchaya joined her later at third with the former, winless since humbling Cyna Rodriguez at Splendido last year, birdying the par-5 16th for a 38-37 and the latter also blowing a 35 start with two bogeys and a double-bogey for a 35-40.
Satarak Walailak bogeyed Nos. 14 and 15 to card a 76 for solo sixth as the Thais poised to dominate the P500,000 event in the absence of Rodriguez and Chihiro Ikeda by taking four of the first six spots.
Lina de Guzman hardly recovered from a bogey-marred 41 with a 37 for a 78 in a tie with Lovelynn Guioguio, who had a one-over card after 12 holes but made three straight bogeys from No. 13 and dropped two strokes on the 16th.
Jayvie Agojo also failed to check an early skid of 43, limping with an 80 in a tie with Apple Fudolin as they fell eight shots off Chamchoi, who braces for a shootout with Ababa and Phalajivin in today’s second round of the event backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp and Champion Infinity.