Fortuna storms ahead of Saso
Mikha Fortuna started hot and proceeded to shoot a bogey-free seven-under-par 65 Thursday that propelled her past Yuka Saso in the 2018 Champion Infinity Philippine Ladies Open at Orchard Golf and Country Club in Cavite.
Rebounding from a bogey-bogey finish that cost her the first round lead Wednesday, Fortuna birdied the first three holes, stringed three more birdies from No. 12 and then closed out with another birdie to lead Saso by three shots.
Counting her opening 71, the 17-year-old The Country Club spearhead pooled a 136, toppling Saso, who carded a 69 for 139.
“My short game and putting came in very handy today (Thursday). I made a lot of one putts and it felt great,” said Fortuna, who is coming off a sixth place finish in last week’s Philippine Amateur Open.
Even Saso was impressed.
“Mikha was so good with her putting and I have to match that tomorrow (Friday) to get a chance,” said Saso, who humbled the pros at Ayala Greenfield last week.
The 16-year-old Saso struggled on the greens, opening up with a three-putt bogey. The Filipino-Japanese ace recovered with birdies on Nos. 2, 6, 9 and 14 but settled for pars the rest of the way.
Thai Trachuentong Pinkaew eagled No. 6 en route to a 68 and solo third at 140.
Pinkaew went six-under card after 11 holes, but stumbled with a missed green bogey on No. 14 and three-putt bogey on No. 17.
Bianca Pagdanganan, who routed the field by nine to reign at Wack Wack last year, missed several birdie attempts and slipped to fourth with a 73 and 144, eight shots off Fortuna.
Harmie Constantino also struggled with a 74 for a 145, sharing fifth spot with Thai Phannarai Meesom-us (74).
Another Thai, Kultida Pramphun, shot 73 for 146 in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. —ROY LUARCA
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