Southwoods lead thins amid charging Pradera
DAVAO—Hanging tough on a trying day, Manila Southwoods played well enough to lose just little ground on powerhouse Pradera Verde on Wednesday, clinging to a narrow lead after 36 holes of the 13th PAL Ladies Interclub championship at Rancho Palos Verdes here.
Marielle Tee fired a one-over-par 73 worth 53 points, Laurea Duque accounted for 51 and Sam Dizon returned 50 points as Southwoods tallied a second round 154 for 310 overall, still good enough for a three-point lead as it braces for a Pradera comeback in the last two days where Asian Games champ Yuka Saso will play in one of them.
“At least we’re still in the lead. That’s what we want, to keep it close and who knows,” Southwoods nonplaying skipper Claire Ong said as the team discarded the 46 of Sunshine Baraquiel. “Being in the lead, we still have a lot of options on which lineups to play in the last two rounds.”
And that is something that Pradera coach Norman Sto. Domingo would need to decide on, if he will gamble keeping Saso on the bench for Friday’s third round or come up with a strong team to try and take the lead going into the final 18 holes on Saturday.
“Fielding will play a key role [in the last two rounds],” Ong added. “We will talk about our lineup [for the third round].”
Sto. Domingo, whose charges won this event by a whopping 43 strokes last year in Cebu, remains confident that “we will win by four or five points, even if we are trailing after the third round.”
Zulaikhah Nasser, a Malaysian junior standout, fired 53 points, Annika Cayabyab contributed 52 with Eliza Mae Kho shooting 51 to make for Pradera’s 156. Vinisha Gunaseelan failed to count with 50.
Saso, who scored 57 points in the opening round on Wednesday, still has a round to play as she also chases the individual championship for the second straight year.
Meanwhile, the Lady Eagles Australian Golfers squad amassed a day-best 158 points built around the 56 of Kelsey Bennett to climb into a tie for the Founders Division lead with Del Monte Golf Club at 274.
Taylor Dunn Newlin shot 55 and Olivia Anne Kerr 47 as the Aussies erased a 20-point overnight lead to make a game out of it with Alabang Country Club, shooting 136 to be in third spot at 257.
Camp Aguinaldo pooled 118 points built around the 48 of Grace Montilla and remained in the Sportswriters Division lead over Tagaytay Highlands International, which scored a second round 120 to creep within a point.
Pueblo de Oro Golf and Country Club had just 99 points for the day to be at 220, with Rancho Palos Verdes amassing 103 to be another eight points behind.