Korean ace Hwang pads lead by 8 strokes

MANILA — Hwang Ye-nah on Thursday sustained her relentless attacked on Mt. Malarayat’s composite course, scoring a three-under 69 and headed for the ICTSI Champion Tour title with an eight-shot lead over Thai Chatprapa Siriprakob going into the final round of the USD 75,000-event in Lipa City, Batangas .

Hwang carded a 36-hole aggregate of nine under 135 on up-and-down finish of three birdies against two bogeys until she closed out with birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 for nines of 35-34.

Hwang’s solid shotmaking put her eight strokes advantage against Siriprakob, who turned in a best four-under 68 in scorching day and assumed the challenger’s role at 143 as Superal struggled with a 73 and dropped to joint third at 144 with Korean amateur Hwang Min-jeong, who matched par 72 for the second straight day in the 54-hole championship presented by Champion.

“My putting wasn’t good today (yesterday) as well as my short game,” said Hwang, who moved 18 holes away from duplicating her wire-to-wire triumph at ICTSI Ladies Open at Southlinks in 2015, also over Superal, worth another USD 15,000.

Despite her huge lead, Hwang said she still had to shoot a 66 to win.

Superal, meanwhile, hints at turning in a low 60 or a 10-under card to get a crack at the crown in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

“My putting was awful and missed so many birdie putts,” said Superal, who recovered from a two-bogey mishap after eight holes with birdies on Nos. 9 and 10 but stumbled with bogeys on Nos. 11 and 13 before holing out with a birdie for a 37-36 card. “I have to score 10-under to win.”

Thai Saranporn Langkulgasettrin, winner of the first Philippine Ladies Masters at Alabang last December, rebounded from a so-so opening of 74 and a bogey-bogey start with three birdies in the last 11 holes as she carded a 71 to move to solo fifth at 145.

The rest of the local aces failed to gain in moving day.

Fil-Japanese amateur Yuka Saso also struggled with a 74 and slipped to sixth at 146 while three-time ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit winner Cyna Rodriguez hardly recovered from a 74 with a 73 for joint seenth with Piyathida Ployumsri of Thailand, who fumbled with a 75, at 147.

Mia Piccio, who limped with a 76 in the first round, made some charge with birdies on Nos. 12 and 14, only to waver with bogeys on Nos. 16 and 18 and signed for a 72 and fell way behind at 148.

Other four-over par scorers were Thais Chonlada Chayanun (73) and Janya Morrakotpan (75), Taiwanese amateur Hou Yu-sang (73) and Malaysian Michele Low (71) in the event serving as the second and fifth legs of the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour and the Taiwan LPGA Tour, respectively.

Pauline del Rosario, who sparked hopes for an early pro breakthrough with a joint runner-up finish in the ICTSI Champion Tour at Splendido last week, continued to struggle after an opening 76, fumbling with four bogeys against a birdie to card a 75 for a 151.

Dottie Ardina also failed to recover, finishing with a birdie-less 79 for a 155, 20 shots off the pace heading to the final round of the tournament 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