Superal, Chan brace for HK Am shootout

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HONG KONG – Princess Superal and local ace Tiffany Chan brought their thrilling duel to a final round shootout as they ended up tied for the second straight day with 69s in the Hong Kong Ladies Amateur Open at the HK Golf Club’s New Course in Fanling here Thursday.

Superal fought back from three shots down with a stirring five-birdie string from No. 9 then cashed in on Chan’s bogey mishap on the 17th to force a tie at five-under 139 heading to the final round of what promises to be a gripping showdown that could go down to the last shot or putt.

Princess Superal
Princess Superal

“I think it will all boil down to putting,” said Superal, who actually took charge early with a birdie on No. 1 but fell behind with a bogey on No. 5 and a double-bogey on the par-3 eighth after an errant tee-shot and a poor pitch.

But the top The Country Club bet rebounded and rattled off five straight birdies from No. 9, including two tap-ins, but needed to pounce on Chan’s three-putt mishap on the 17th to catch up the reigning World University Games gold medal winner.

“I sort of got fired up by that double-bogey. I hit solid iron shots and made a couple of putts from long range,” said Superal, chasing a fifth straight victory after closing out the 2015 season with four wins in Malaysia, Singapore and Jakarta.

The former US Girls’ Junior champion actually appeared headed to grab the lead after barely missing the par-4 18th green and Chan dumping her approach shot into the greenside bunker. But Superal fell short of target and missed her par putt from 12 feet while Chan also missed wresting the solo lead with a muffed putt from eight feet.

That set the stage for the final round shootout with Superal upbeat of her chances to re-claim the crown won by former TCC teammate and now LPGA-bound Cyna Rodriguez in 2012.

“I’m hitting it pretty solid and can match Tiffany’s power off the tee. But I hope to make the putts tomorrow (Friday),” said Superal.

Isabella Leung, another local bet, took the last spot in the championship flight after shooting a tournament-best 67 in ideal condition, bouncing back into title contention at 141.

Mimi Ho, also of Hong Kong, carded a second 71 and remained in the hunt with a 142, just three adrift, but TCC’s Pauline del Rosario sputtered with a 75 after a 71 and dropped to fifth at 146, now seven strokes behind.

Sam Martirez also continued to struggle and limped with a 78 and slid to joint 11th at 154 while Michelle Cheung also fumbled with a 75 for a 147, Cheuk Chan recovered with a 72 for a 148, India’s Riya Ahuja skied to an 80 after a 71 for a 151 and Vivial Lee carding a 78 for a 152.

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