QUEEN SIRIKIT CUP: Superal rebounds as Phl wrests 2-shot lead
Princess Superal took over from where teammate Miya Legaspi left off as she shot a three-under 69 in tough condition to power the Philippines to a two-stroke lead over China and Korea and closer to a breakthrough victory in the Queen Sirikit Cup at the Saujana Golf and Country Club in Malaysia late Thursday.
With ICTSI teammate Pauline del Rosario recovering from a horrendous opening 84 with a gutsy 72, the Pinay golfers assembled a 141 and broke away from first round co-leader South Korea with a 36-hole aggregate of 284 heading to the final round of the 54-hole championship which features 13 countries in the Asia Pacific region.
South Korea, which has dominated the event for six straight years since 2007 at The Country Club before Australia broke its run in Taiwan last year, carded a second straight 143 for a 286, enabling China to gain a share of second by matching the Philippines’ 141 output.
Legaspi, who anchored the Philippines’ solid start with a 69 Wednesday, blew a one-under card after 10 holes with bogeys on Nos. 12 and 14, ending up with a one-over 73 and failing to count in the three-to-play, two-to-count format event.
“Princess played a steady game and bucked tough pin placements with steady putting,” said Philippine team skipper Cora Suntay of the Women’s Golf Association of the Phils. “It will be an exciting shot making and putting competition among the Philippines, China and Korea in the final round.”
Legaspi’s 73, however, dropped her to joint second in the individual competition with a 142, four strokes behind Chinese Shi Yuting, who took charge with a 138 after a 70. Other 142 scorers were Taiwan’s Ssu Chia Cheng, who fired a tournament-best 67, and Korean Lee So-young, who had a 71.
Superal, the reigning SEA Games gold medallist, moved from 10th to fourth with a 143 but stood five shots behind Shi.
“It’s a big deficit but Princess is determined to go for it although her focus is on helping ensure the Philippines a first-ever Queen Sirikit crown,” said Team ICTSI coach Bong Lopez.
The 17-year-old Superal leaned on a fiery start at the backside of the tight Bunga Raya Course, birdying three of the first four holes then salvaging a couple of pars to close out with a 32 and a 69.
Del Rosario, priming up for the Junior World in San Diego where she won the 13-14 crown last year, birdied No. 14 to go one-under but missed the 18th green and failed to return a six-footer for bogey and a 72.
The Philippines is eyeing its first ever Queen Sirikit Cup crown after finishing second twice to South Korea – first in 2007 at The Country Club on a team built around Dottie Ardina, Regina de Guzman and Princess’ sister Crystal Superal and in 2011 in India, again behind Ardina, Chihiro Ikeda and Jayvie Agojo.
Ardina, now campaigning on the Symetra Tour in the US, won the individual championship in 2011.
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