Arevalo proves peerless, zooms ahead by five after 68
Playing a course she has only seen once before, Abby Arevalo fired a flawless three-under-par 68 in humid conditions on Tuesday to zoom ahead by a commanding five strokes over Rianne Malixi after the opening round of the Philippine Ladies Open at well-manicured Manila Golf Club in Makati.
The 20-year-old Arevalo, who turned in her only practice round on Monday, found the lightning-fast greens to her liking for a 34-34 card that got her bid for a major local win off on the right foot as Malixi stumbled with a double bogey 7 on the 18th to trail by five heading into the final two rounds.
“Everyone told me that the course was easy, but it’s definitely not,” said Arevalo, who graduated with a psychology degree at San Jose State University last December.
While the rest of the 70-player cast struggled on the unreceptive greens all day, Arevalo thrived, being used to such conditions while campaigning as a Spartan in the US collegiate circuit.
“I love the greens. I thought it would be much faster. The speed was perfect for me,” Arevalo said.
The rest must’ve wished, too, at least to keep the leader within striking distance.
Kiara Montebon carded a 74, Mafy Singson limped with a 75, and the likes of Eagle Ace Superal, Nicole Abelar, Sam Dizon and Laurea Duque groped with identical 76s to trail big.
Sophia Abarcas turned in a 78 while Mariel Tee, one of the other fancied names in the tournament, skied to a 79 in a tie with Fil-Guamanian Kristin Oberiano and Martina Miñoza.
Inquirer president and CEO Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, a many-time club champion, returned a triple bogey-marred 80 to be in the company of Aussie Charlotte Huynh and Rita Horan.Malixi, the 12-year-old who nipped Arevalo in the finals of the national stroke play championship last month, made three straight birdies from the 10th hole, only to limp home with that double on 18.
Malixi found the right greenside trap on her approach on the 18th and blasted out horribly.