Princess outguns Cyna, seizes 1-shot lead

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TRECE MARTIRES, Cavite – Princess Superal outgunned Cyna Rodriguez in a shootout between the ace amateur and the leading pro in another windy day here, birdying the final hole to card a four-under 68 and wrest a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the P750,000 ICTSI Sherwood Ladies Championship at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club Wednesday.

Superal’s closing birdie from 10 feet capped the reigning US Girls’ Juniors champion’s superb putting that saw her sink a 20-footer on No. 2, a four-footer on the fourth and a 15-footer on No. 8 and grab the lead at the turn.

Princess Superal sets up for a tee-shot on the par-3 No. 2.
Princess Superal sets up for a tee-shot on the par-3 No. 2.

The 16-year-old Superal, seeking a repeat of her record run in Baguio where she routed the pro field with a bogey-free 17-under 190 total in the final leg of the inaugural ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour last year, thus moved 18 holes from matching that feat with a six-under 138 aggregate.

“My putting was super today (yesterday), making just 23 putts,” said Superal, who also flashed a near-impeccable short game by salvaging six pars while battling the wind with awesome low-flight shots.

Rodriguez, who launched her bid for a fifth leg title this year with a 68 and a two-shot lead over Superal Tuesday, struggled in the wind and failed to match Superal’s birdie-binge at the front to fall back after nine holes. But she hit a birdie on No. 10 to draw level until Superal holed out with a birdie on the par-4 18th to take control.

“I couldn’t position the ball well on the fairways. To make matters worse, I couldn’t get a good read on the speed of the greens,“ said Rodriguez, who dropped to second at 139 but still led the chase for the top P150,000 purse in the season-ending tournament of the eight-stage circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.

Rodriguez stood seven shots ahead of Chihiro Ikeda, who shot an eagle-aided 71 for a 146.

Korean amateur Seng Eun Jeong fired a 69, highlighted by three-straight birdies from No. 2, and gained a rare spot in the championship flight with a 141, just three shots off Superal heading to the final round of the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by Nike, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp.

Asian Gamer Pauline del Rosario, Superal’s teammate at ICTSI stable and in the Philippine team that won the Santi Cup in Brunei recently, also birdied the 18th for the second straight time but dropped to fourth with a 72 and a 143 while Ikeda overcame a three-over card after four holes with two birdies and an eagle on the par-5 No. 15 for a 71.

With a 146, Ikeda tied another amateur Yuka Saso, who matched par 72, at fifth.

Harmie Constantino struggled with a 75 for a 149 while fellow amateur Abby Arevalo also shot a 75 for a 151.

LPGT Splendido leg winner Amolkan Phalajivin of Thailand hardly recovered from a woeful 77 start with a 75 and fell way behind at 152 in a tie with Lovelynn Guioguio, who skied to a 77, and amateurs Sofia Chabon and Sam Martirez, who had 79 and 80, respectively.

Another Korean amateur Hwang Min Jeong made a 76 and tied Sarah Ababa, who had a 77, at 153 while LPGT Riviera leg winner Jayvie Agojo turned in a 77 for a 155 in a tie with amateur Sam Bruce, who also shot a 77.

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