JAYVIE AGOJO fired a three-under 69 to grab a one-stroke lead at the start of the Champion Infinity Philippine Ladies Open on Wednesday at the Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa City, Batangas.
The 26-year-old Agojo, winner of the Philippine Ladies at the Manila Golf Club in 2005, waxed hot on a breezy day with five birdies against two bogeys at the Mt. Lobo nine then played steady at the tougher Mt. Makulot side with an even 36.
Michelle Koh of Malaysia and Supamas Sangchan of Thailand both scored 70.
“Save for a couple of missed birdie putts, I had a fine round but it’s just a one-shot lead and the best players are behind me, so it will be tough in the next two days,” said Agojo, the reigning Santi Cup champion.
Koh fumbled with a four-over 40 at Mt. Makulot after a sizzling six-under 30 at Lobo, while Sangchan had nines of 34-36.
Dottie Ardina stood two strokes adrift at 71, hitting four birdies against three bogeys for joint fourth with Benyapa Niphatsophon of Thailand.
Lovelynn Guioguio matched par 72 but last year’s runner-up Princess Superal groped for form and hobbled with a two-over 74 in the event organized by the Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines and sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Coca Cola, Duty Free Philippines and Pacsports, with support from the Department of Tourism.
Shei Santiwiwatthanaphong of Thailand and Chanel Avaricio carded identical 73s, while Clare Legaspi and Thai Suthavee Chanachai tied Superal at 74.
Cyna Rodriguez, winner at Manila Southwoods three years ago, fired a 76. Sarah Ababa had a 78 and new ICTSI members Abegail Arevalo and Sofia Chabon turned in an 80 and 81, respectively.
Sharing the spotlight in the opener of the in the 54-hole championship presented by Champion Infinity was Manila Golf Club’s Isa Lorenzo, who scored a hole-in-one on No. 4 of Mt. Makulot en route to an 82. She used a Beres 6-iron and a Titleist ProV1x ball in acing the 135-yard hole.
In Class A play, Gaby Monfort made an 85 to post a one-shot lead over Thai Siti Zulaikhaa Binti Shaari and Inez Del Rosario, while Frances Bawal and Rose Quilacio both scored 92 to lead Meehah Fong and Gilda Medestomas by one in Class B.