Amateur Princess Superal blew a three-shot lead with three late bogeys, settling for an even par 72 and enabling Chihiro Ikeda and Thai Wichanee Meechai to force a tie for the lead in the second round of the P500,000 ICTSI Wack Wack Ladies Invitational at Wack Wack’s West course Wednesday.
Just when she thought she had the course and the field in check with her superb shotmaking and iron play, the top ICTSI-The Country Club bet fumbled with three straight bogeys from No. 14 as she struggled with her putting, setting the stage for a three-way battle for the crown as Meechai matched Superal’s two 72s and Ikeda joined them at 144 despite a 74.
Make it a four-cornered fight as Apple Fudolin stayed just within at 145 with a 73 with Korean amateur Eu Na Ko also lurking at 146 after a second 73.
Thai Pennapa Pulsawath, who opened with a 69 to seize the first round lead, turned from awesome to awful as she never recovered from a disastrous quadruple 8 on No. 1, making seven more bogeys and a double-bogey against a lone birdie for a horrible 12-over 84. She fell to joint 13th at 153 with Lovelynn Guioguio, who had a 76.
But while Pulsawath bowed out of the title race, Meechai remained on track for a second straight crown on the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour as the runaway Splendido leg winner charged back from a shaky start with two birdies in the last three holes to salvage a 72.
Ikeda, who fired a solid 70 in the opener, likewise stayed on course for a breakthrough win on the tour organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., bouncing back from a three-over 39 start with a birdie on No. 17 to save a 74.
In contrast, Superal lost her poise – and putting touch – at the finish, nearly putting to naught a fiery start that featured three straight birdies from close range, putting her in command of the 35-player international field. She bogeyed No. 9 for the second straight time on another missed drive but birdied the easy par-5 10th again to remain at three-under.
But after a run of pars, the reigning US Girls Junior champion missed the next three greens from No. 14 and flubbed par putts inside five feet to the chagrin of her coach Bong Lopez but to the delight of her pursuers.
“I had a solid start and thought of pulling away at the back. But I lost my putting touch,” said Superal, who has racked up three victories abroad this year and is gearing up for the Queen Sirikit Cup in Hong Kong next month.
Thai Saraporn Chamchoi carded a 73 for a 148 in a tie with Cyna Rodriguez, the dominant player in the first two seasons of the country’s first-ever ladies pro tour but who sputtered with a 75 as the West layout held its ground and yielded no under-par scores with Superal and Meechai’s 72s proving to be the best.
Bernice Olivarez-Ilas, Superal’s teammate at ICTSI-TCC who impressed the field with an opening 71, skied to a 78 and tumbled to eighth while teammate Pauline del Rosario fought back with a 73 for a 150 followed by Sarah Ababa (75) and amateurs Mikaela Fortuna (75) and Korean Hwang Min Jeong (74), who pooled identical 152s.