Plucksataporn of Thailand grabs two-stroke lead in ICTSI Champion Tour

MANILA – Titiya Plucksataporn of Thailand fired a 71 for an aggregate score of 143 to grab a two-stroke lead over local aces Mia Piccio and Cyna Rodriguez as erstwhile leader Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul struggled with a 77 in Thursday’s second round of the USD75,000-ICTSI Champion Tour at Splendido in Tagaytay City.

Plucksataporn tamed the wind-raked Splendido layout with three-under card after 15 holes to storm past overnight leader by three. But the Ladies European Tour campaigner wavered on another windy finish, bogeying two of the last three and settling for the day’s lone under-par card.

“My putting and irons were simply good. If I can sustain my game or play even tomorrow (today), I have good chances for the title,” said the 24-year-old Bangkok native, a Queen Sirikit Cup silver medalist.

Muangkhumsakul, whose late surge Wednesday netted her a 69 and a one-shot lead over Piccio, failed to check a rollercoaster round on poor putting and a shaky finish of three bogeys in the last five holes, tumbling down to joint fourth with Taiwanese Lee Hsin (72), Yeh Hsin-ning (75) and amateur Hung Jo-jua (73), at 146.

That also kept Piccio and Rodriguez within striking distance at 145 despite the former’s 75 while the latter, who birdied No. 10, fought back from a bogey-bogey mishap from No. 14 with a birdie on the 17th to save par 72 and stay in the title hunt in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

Local amateur Yuka Saso also struggled with a 75 and fell to joint eighth with Korean Kang Ji-won and Taiwanese amateur Hou Yu-chiang, who both matched par 72s, at 147 while Thais Punpaka Phuntumabamrung ang Pimpadsorn Sangkagaro pooled 148s after a 73 and 75, respectively.

Rookie pro Pauline del Rosario, in joint third at the start of the day, also skied to a 78 and slipped to a share of 13th with Taiwan’s Chen Yu-ju (75) and amateur Hou Yu-sang (73) and Thai Narisara Kerdrit (73) at 149, six strokes off the new leader.

The tournament which is the kickoff leg of this year’s ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour presented by Champion is also backed by ICTSI, BDO, Champion, Custom Clubmakers, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, KZG, Sharp, Summit Mineral Water, Titleist and Event Captain. Primo Agatep/PNA-northboundasia.com