Superal just a stroke behind Thai, Korean leaders at Splendido
LAUREL, Batangas—Chonlada Chayanun birdied the last hole to card a three-under-par 69 and catch Hwang Min-jeong at the helm even as Princess Superal charged back with a 68 to pull within one after two rounds of the ICTSI Splendido Ladies Classic here yesterday.
Chayanun, out to reassert the Thais’ domination on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour after placing fourth in last week’s Beverly Place Classic, bucked an opening hole bogey by draining five birdies in a nine-hole stretch from No. 2 before capping her superlative round with that 10-footer on the 18th.
Her 33-36 card in windy conditions proved enough to overhaul a three-stroke deficit at the start of the day at 140 as Hwang struggled with a two-birdie, two-bogey effort for a 72 after a near-impeccable 68 Tuesday that netted her a huge lead in the early going of the P750,000 tournament.
Looming large at 141, however, is Superal, who broke a run of pars with solid iron play that saw her birdie the two par-3s in the front nine.
She then drilled a 20-foot putt on the closing hole for a pair of 34s.
The reigning Order of Merit champion actually rued her day-long battle with a wild driver but relied on her 5-wood for fairway shots and steady putting to put her back in the thick of the fight for the top P150,000 purse in the 54-hole event.
“I couldn’t hit my driver the way I wanted to. But I hit solid fairway shots with my 5-wood and made even the long putts,” said Superal, who wavered with late bogeys that marred her opening 73 that had her trailing the Korean leader by five shots after the opening round.
Chayanun fell farther back off Hwang with a bogey on the first hole but the 27-year-old Bangkok native rattled off birdies on Nos. 2, 4, 5 and 7 from close range, added another on the 10th but yielded strokes on Nos. 12 and 13. She, however, set up a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th and made it to gain a clear shot at the crown.
Despite her mediocre 72, Hwang remained confident of her chances but stressed the need to heed her caddie-father’s advise, particularly on the putting green.
“I couldn’t get the right reads and missed a lot of birdie chances. I could’ve posted an eight-under card. But it’s all my fault because I didn’t listen to my father,” said the 17-year-old Hwang, seeking to launch her pro career with a victory here at Splendido Taal Golf Club.
Another Thai Narisara Kerdrit blew a two-under card with a double-bogey on the 18th, settling for a 72 and a 147 and enabling compatriot Punpaka Phuntumabamrung to move to solo fourth at 146 after a 75.
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