A 12-year-old seventh grader stole the thunder from some of the top female shotmakers in the country, taking the top spot on the leaderboard in the first round of the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour Qualifier on Thursday at Canlubang Golf’s South course in Laguna.
Five-foot-9 Samantha Bruce, a 5-foot-9 student at Assumption San Lorenzo, birdied three of the last five holes for a 70 and a one-stroke lead over sister Nikki.
Nikki, 15, a sophomore also at Assumption, earlier threatened to blow away the field with a two-under 34 as she made the turn with back-to-back birdies. She even made it three in a row with another birdie on the 10th but she fumbled with a bogey on the par-5 11th and dropped another stroke on the 16th to settle for a 71.
“They are actually competing here to test their strength,” said Bobbet Bruce, father of the power-hitting sisters playing out of Orchard. “At 5-9, Sam has a slight physical advantage which we hope to develop.”
The Bruces are products of ICTSI inter-school tournaments. Sam is a Junior World and USKG Worlds campaigner who can drive the ball 250 yards. Both are handled by ICTSI coach Joel Altea and Alex Frias.
Jan Punzalan strung up two 37s to place third at 74 while club bet Lina de Guzman blew a solid 35 with a faltering finish, bogeying Nos. 12 and 14 then hobbling with a double-bogey, bogey finish for a 41 and a 76.
Del Monte’s Eva Miñoza never recovered from a 41 on the front nine and limped with a 79 while Marissa Romano of Orchard wilted in scorching heat and stumbled to an 85.
Those scoring 160 or better after 36 holes will gain spots in the inaugural circuit put up by the sponsoring International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Seeded into the ICTSI LPGT proper are former and current lady pros along with the former members of the ICTSI ladies amateur team headed by Dottie Ardina, Jayvie Agojo and Lovelynn Guioguio.
The first leg of the initial five-stage ICTSI LPGT is set May 15 to 17 at The Country Club in Laguna. The LPGT membership fee is pegged at P3,000.
Each stage will offer a total prize fund of P500,000 with the winner getting P100,000.