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Catch her if you can

Arevalo builds whopping 11-stroke cushion, leaving her with just a record to chase
By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 04:30 AM February 20, 2020

Abby Arevalo has her sights set on breaking the record for winning margin. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ADRIAN FLORES

Buckling a wobbly start to be the only player to crack par for the second straight day, Abby Arevalo all but put the Philippine Ladies Open title in the bag on Wednesday—leaving her assault on the record books as the only thing to be decided.

The 20-year-old Arevalo chipped in for birdie from about five yards on the 18th that sealed a two-under-par 69 for a mind-boggling 11-shot lead over Rianne Malixi heading into Thursday’s final round, where she will try to break the record nine-stroke winning margin posted by Philippine squad teammate Bianca Pagdanganan three years ago in Wack Wack.

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“Yeah, why not?” Arevalo said when told of the record—and if she would go for it. “That’s going to be tough to do—but I’ll give it a shot.”

Coupled with an opening 68, Arevalo, the former San Jose State University standout in the NCAA, has a 137 aggregate as Malixi, who won in three holes of sudden death over Arevalo in the National Stroke Play finals last month, slumped to a 75 for 148.

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Eagle Ace Superal fired a 74 to be another two shots behind, even as Mafi Singson submitted a 75 for 151.

Inquirer president and CEO Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, a many-time club champion, returned a 77 for 157, three shots clear of seasoned campaigner Junia Gabasa, who shot a 79, and Mariel Tee (81).

Arevalo, who celebrates her birthday on Friday, will be gunning to win just her second individual title in the country, having spent her collegiate life in the United States and away from the local spotlight.

And she is playing at a very high level after a deQuervain release surgery on her right wrist last July almost kept her out of the National squad that won the team gold in the Southeast Asian Games last December.

She would want to win this, obviously, not only to win for the first time since upsetting professional Pauline del Rosario in an LPGT leg at Riviera in 2017, but also to get a great going away present as she plans to leave the amateur ranks next month and try her luck in Japan first and the bigger tours later.

The Manila Golf layout, located inside posh Forbes Park and which she has played just once before the first round on Tuesday, remains to be the final obstacle in her record bid.

“This course requires a lot of thinking,” Arevalo said. “This is definitely a course-management layout and you cannot go reckless playing here.”

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Those three bogeys were the only dropped shots in her first two rounds as she went flawless on Tuesday. But despite that, Arevalo played it patiently to salvage her round and leave everyone eating her dust.

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TAGS: Abby Arevalo, Golf, Philippine Ladies Open, Sports
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