BAGUIO – Cyna Rodriguez moved closer to another title romp on the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour as she fended off Thai Amolkan Phalajivin’s big windup with a late birdie to keep her four-shot lead intact in the second round of the Camp John Hay Ladies Invitational here Wednesday.
Rodriguez birdied the par-5 17th for the second straight day to salvage an even par 69 and remain way ahead at six-under 132 after Phalajivin threatened to within three with an eagle on No. 16 for a similar 69 and a 136.
“I was lucky to hang in there,” said Rodriguez, referring to her poor second shot on No. 17 that rolled onto the green for a two-putt birdie.
“I knew I wouldn’t hit it solid since my timing was off at the range,” said Rodriquez, who shot a bogey-free six-under 63 in the opener but had a rollercoaster round of three birdies against the same number of bogeys on the up-and-down John Hay layout.
The reigning ICTSI LPGT Order of Merit champion, who romped off with a five-shot victory in this year’s kickoff leg at Orchard last April, also struggled with her putting stroke, making 28 after an impressive 25-putt stint Tuesday.
But those hardly mattered as Phalajivin also groped for putting form all day, missing a couple of birdie putts from close range and needing to sink a seven-foot eagle putt on the 16th to negate her bogeys on Nos. 7 and 15.
“I hit better than yesterday (Tuesday) but the putts didn’t fall in. I can’t get the right breaks,” said Phalajivin, who also flubbed a pin-length birdie putt on No. 17.
Anya Tanpinco, the third player in the featured flight, failed to recover from a bogey-bogey start and reeled with a 73 but remained at third at 142, leaving Rodriguez and Phalajivin to dispute the top P100,000 purse heading to the final 18 holes of the third leg of the eight-stage circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Sarah Ababa fumbled with a 73 after a 70 and stayed at fourth at 143 while Lovelynn Guioguio rebounded with a 69 after a 75 to improve from seventh to fifth at 144.
Jayvie Agojo, who scored a breakthrough on the country’s first ladies pro circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. by the winning the second leg at Riviera last week, finally hit her stride after a disastrous 77 Tuesday, but her one-under 68 hardly revived her title hopes as she stood too far behind at 145, 13 shots off the pace.
Korean Kwon Seo Yon, who won Monday’s pro-am tilt of the event backed by Nike, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp, and Apple Fudolin also bounced back with 71s after a pair of 74s to tie Agojo at sixth while amateur Nikki Bruce recovered with a 70 after a 77 for ninth at 147.
Eva Miñoza birdied No. 16 but dropped two strokes on the next to card a 72 and a 150.