DASMARINAS, Cavite – Chihiro Ikeda came out a bit better than the rest in their struggle at the Player’s demanding backside, closing out the weather-delayed round with a 41 for a 76 and pulling away by five over Bukidnon’s Lovelyn Guioguio and two others after two rounds of the ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship here Tuesday.
The field, hobbling with soaring scores in tough conditions in the first five holes at the back, endured another hour-long delay due to lightning with Ikeda barely surviving the ordeal with three pars and a bogey to wind up with a 41, her 76 giving her a 36-hole total of 148.
But it still proved enough to widen her overnight three-stroke lead as the erstwhile contenders fared even worse with Heidi Chua, who carded a 75 in the first round, limping with an 85 and amateurs Marvi Monsalve, Daniella Uy and Felicia Medalla fumbling with 77, 78 and 84, respectively, after churning out identical 76s.
Guioguio turned in the best card of one-over 73 but the veteran campaigner also faltered at the finish, blowing a one-under card with bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 to drop into a tie for second with Jayvie Agojo and Monsalve at 153, five shots off Ikeda.
Monsalve actually battled from four-down to within one after No. 10 with three birdies but the top amateur from Southwoods stumbled with two double bogeys and a bogey in the next four holes and emerged from the break with three straight bogeys to reel back.
Agojo, seeking a follow-up to her first Ladies Philippine Golf Tour win in 2014, also bogeyed three of the last five holes for a 75, still a decent score given the severe playing conditions.
Uy also closed out with a 41 and slipped to solo fifth at 154 while Sarah Ababa carded a second 78 for a 156 in a tie with Korean amateur Hwang Min-jeong, who skied to a 79.
Fil-Am Cristina Corpus also ballooned to an 80 for a 157 while Chua tumbled all the way down to joint ninth with Medalla at 160 heading to the final 18 holes of the P750,000 event sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Ikeda tried to pull away with a birdie on No. 2 but the 21-year-old Monsalve, a former California Baptist U Lancer, upstaged the former SEA Games gold medalist with three birdies in a six-hole stretch from No. 4 then parred No. 10 which Ikeda bogeyed to close to within one.
But Monsalve cracked when conditions turned from bad to worse, dropping two shots on the par-3 11th and after a routine par on No. 12, she made another double on the next and bogeyed the next four holes.
Ikeda and the rest also succumbed to the punishing condition and pressure but the Fil-Japanese out-steadied her rivals at the resumption, dropping just one bogey in the last four holes to stay within sight of a breakthrough win in the circuit backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Sharp, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Champion, TaylorMade and Pacsports