Princess Superal and Pauline del Rosario sizzled with identical four-under 67s as the Philippines all but wrapped up its first-ever Santi Cup crown with a solid 134, moving 15 shots clear of arch rival Thailand in the 54th South East Asian Amateur Golf Team Championship in Brunei late Wednesday.
So solid was the Phl’s third round showing that Miya Legaspi’s two-under 69, which can easily lead any team, didn’t count in the three-to-play, two-to-count format 72-hole event dominated by the Thais the last five years.
This time, the Filipinas made sure there won’t be any Thai repeat as they pooled a 54-hole total of 20-under 406 at the par-71 Empire Hotel and Country Club course for a huge 15-point lead over the five-time champions, who settled for a second 141 for a 421.
Singapore stood eight shots farther back at 429 after another 144 while Malaysia fumbled with a 146 for a 438 followed by Indonesia (150-443) and Brunei (175-514).
“Princess finally hit her stride and showed her potential while Pauline and Miya remained as steady as ever. Only a major disaster could stop them from finally nailing the elusive Santi Cup win,” said national team coach Bong Lopez, also the man at the helm of Team ICTSI.
Superal, the reigning US Girls Juniors champion who groped for form to finish 11th in the recent Asian Games where the Phl also wound up fifth, dished out a superb iron game to set up birdie chances inside four feet, on Nos. 8, 9, 10, 12 and 17. She, however, missed finishing with a flourish after failing to rescue a par off the bunker on the 18th.
Del Rosario also hit five birdies, including a tap-in on No. 11 and from 16 feet on the 16th, but like her ICTSI teammate Superal, she stumbled with one bogey when she hit an errant drive on the 17th, punched out from under the woods and flubbed a six-footer for par.
In other fronts, however, the Philippines continued to struggle with the defending men’s champion team still in far fourth in the Putra Cup with a 658 after a 221, 45 strokes behind Thailand, which also put the outcome beyond doubt with a 613 after a 205.
That was 23 shots ahead of Singapore, which scored a 212 for a 636 while Malaysia carded a 214 for a 640, 18 strokes ahead of the Filipinos, who drew a 72 from Justin Quiban, a 73 from Rupert Zaragosa and a 73 from Tonlits Asistio.
Yuka Saso of Team ICTSI made a 75 while Villamor’s Harmie Constantio shot a 79 for a 154 as the Phl stayed in fourth in the Kartini Cup with a 451, 39 shots behind Thailand, which had a 412 after a 142. Indonesia is in second at 432 after a 142 while Malaysia remained in third at 448 after a 151.