TARLAC – Thai Walailak Satarak struck with three birdies midway through to card a 73 and force a tie with Cristina Corpus as erstwhile leader Saraporn Chamchoi fumbled with an 80 in the second round of the ICTSI Luisita Ladies Challenge at the Luisita Golf and Country Club here Thursday.
Satarak looked headed for another poor round after a 76 as she dropped four strokes right in the first six holes, including a double-bogey on the par-3 sixth. But she rebounded with three birdies from close range in a five-hole stretch from No. 7 then parred the rest of the holes for a 38-35 card and a 149.
Corpus matched that 36-hole output with a pair of 37s for a 74 in scorching heat, missing grabbing the lead with a bogey on the tough par-3 17th.
“I’m not expecting anything here. I just tried to play my game,” said Corpus, who has never figured in a title chase in four of five tournaments she had competed in this year’s ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.
But with a crack at the crown, Corpus needs to raise the level of her game and brace for a battle royale not just with Satarak but also with Sarah Ababa and Chamchoi and two others who stood within striking distance heading to the last 18 holes of the P500,000 event sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Ababa stayed in the hunt for back-to-back championship despite a birdie-less 78 as the LPGT Sherwood winner last month lay just three strokes adrift at 152 in a tie with Chamchoi, who failed to sustain her opening 72 with an 80 marred by two double-bogeys and three bogeys against a birdie on the 18th.
Lovelyn Guioguio fought back from a 78 with a 75 and remained in the fight for the top P100,000 with a 153 for joint fifth with last year’s Splendido leg champion Amolkan Phalijivin, who gunned down three birdies but fumbled with five bogeys and two double bogeys for a 78.
Another Thai Supakchaya Pattaranakrueng also skied with an 80 and fell six shots behind at 155 while Apple Fudolin made a 77 for a 157 and Jayvie Agojo had a 70 for joint ninth at 159 with Lina de Guzman, who shot an 81.
Still, focus will be on the Satarak-Corpus duel with the Thai hoping to nail the championship after finishing joint second to compatriot Meechai Wichanee at Splendido last April.
But Ababa is out to spoil the duo’s bid as the Filipina ace joins the final group, hoping to polish her putting stroke that has hampered her second round charge in the event backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp and Champion Infinity.
“My driving and irons were okay. I just couldn’t putt,” said Ababa, who flubbed a couple of birdie putts inside seven feet on both nines.