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Ikeda sustains form, gains finals

/ 11:51 PM June 25, 2011

MANILA—Chihiro Ikeda rolled past her Japanese rivals, including an emphatic 3&2 romp over Akane Saeki, to barge into the finals of the Japan Women’s Amateur Golf Championship at the Takarazuka Golf Club in Osaka, Japan yesterday.

Coming off a pair of wins in the knockout stage, Ikeda brandished a superb iron game and outsteadied Sakura Kito, 1-up, in the quarterfinals. She then bundled out Saeki to arrange a showdown with Mamiko Higa for the crown in the 53rd staging of the annual event.

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Higa turned in a pair of convincing wins to fuel her title bid, stunning Ai Miyazawa, 3&2, in the quarters then outclassing Natsura Hori, 5&3, in the Final Four.

“It will be a tough match, Mamiko is playing extremely well but Chihiro is ready and confident,” said ICTSI team coach Bong Lopez. “The key is to stay focused and make the putts.”

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Against Kito, the top ICTSI bet strung up four straight birdies from No. 6 to erase a two-hole deficit for a 2-up lead then leaned on another birdie on No. 14 and a couple of gutsy pars in two of the last four holes to complete the win.

She was more impressive against Saeki, hitting back-to-back birdies from No. 2 to seize an early 2-up lead. The Japanese threatened with a birdie on No. 6 but the reigning Philippine Ladies Open champion gunned down birdies on Nos. 9 and 10 to go 3-up en route to victory in the lower half of the draw.

Over in Florida, USA, Lovelynn Guioguio outlasted ICTSI teammate Cyna Rodriguez in a Last 16 match that went through 23 holes but dropped a 3&2 setback to Victoria Tanco in the quarterfinal round of the Women’s Western Golf Association Championship at Sawgrass Country Club Friday.

In Malaysia, Dottie Ardina struggled with an 80 and stood 12 strokes behind Viviane Chin, who fired a 68, at the start of the Perak Ladies Amateur Open at the Meru Valley Golf Club in Perak.

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TAGS: Chihiro Ikeda, Golf, Japan Women’s Amateur Golf Championship, Sports
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