Rodriguez pulls ahead by 3 shots with 69

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Cyna Rodriguez celebrated her pro debut by shooting  a 3-under-par 69 yesterday for a three-stroke lead over Jayvie Agojo after the first round of the ICTSI Philippine Ladies’ Tour  third leg at the Aoki course of Eagle Ridge in Cavite.

The well-built Rodriguez assumed the role of the clear favorite by holding off everyone else with a late barrage of birdies to complete a 36-33 card.

Agojo closed with four straight birdies to save a 72 and stay in hunt for a breakthrough win in the P500,000 event.

Dottie Ardina, who begged off from playing this week to pursue an LPGA card in the United States, would have been the fancied bet here. Her absence has left the door open for a lot of players, including the debuting Rodriguez.

Ardina won the first two legs of the pilot tour, beating Rodriguez, who was still an amateur then, in the first leg. Agojo finished fifth both times.

Rodriguez had just one blemish on her card, a bogey that resulted from an errant approach on the 14th before she picked up back-to-back birdies from No. 16.

“I made a bad shot on No. 14 but overall I played steady and that’s what I intend to do this week,” said Rodriguez, the 2010 Philippine Ladies Open champion.

Lovelyn Guioguio fired a 74 and Apple Fudolin, also a pro from Del Monte, returned a 76 to place third and fourth, respectively, in the 54-hole event put up by International Container Terminal Services and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc.

“I couldn’t aim (at the flags) well and missed some short putts (on the front nine),” Agojo, the 2005 PH Ladies champ said, referring to a front nine 40.

Anya Tanpinco, the former Southern Ladies Open titlist, shot a 78, while Heidi Chua was birdie-less in a 79 like Sarah Jane Ababa. Reb Bareng and Tracy Que turned in  80s. Musong R. Castillo

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