Thai grabs control at Malarayat; Superal 3 down
LIPA City—Thai Nemittra Juntanaket closed out strong on Wednesday, birdieing three of her last six holes to save a level par 72 and grab a two-stroke lead over Marvi Monsalve at the start of the ICTSI Mt. Malarayat Ladies Classic here.
Juntanaket, joint 18th at Pradera Verde Ladies last month, fell behind early with a triple-bogey on a lost ball on the first hole of Mt. Malipunyo, and after a run of brave pars, hit back-to-back birdies from No. 13 of Mt. Makulot then added another on the par-5 No. 16 to save a 39-33.
Title favorite Princess Superal blew a two-under card with six holes to play and signed for a 75.
Monsalve saved a 74 with birdies on Nos. 16 and 17.
Defending champion Onkanok Soisuwan bogeyed her last two holes to be in the company of Superal and fellow Thais Numa Gulyanamitta and Alisara Wedchakama.
“Except on No. 1, my game is good. I actually struggled at the front but recovered and played good at the back,” said Juntanaket, who hopes to sustain her form and finally get a title shot in the P750,000 event.
Monsalve banked on her putting to survive a roller coaster stint on what she described as “good and very challenging” course.
“Compared to Mt. Makulot, it was difficult to putt at Mt. Malipunyo where the greens are hard and one needs a good drop (approach) to get a good shot at birdies,” said Monsalve.
But it was a sorry finish for Superal, winner at John Hay, who had appeared to be in control after bouncing back from a bogey on No. 2 with birdies on Nos. 5, 8 and 10. But after two pars, she bogeyed Nos. 13 and 14, dropped another stroke on the 16th and holed out with a double bogey.