CHIHIRO Ikeda rode on a fiery windup to card a three-under 68 for a share of the lead with Yupaporn Kawinpakorn of Thailand at the start of the ICTSI Beverly Place Ladies Classic on Tuesday in Mexico, Pampanga.
Seeking another win after her Forest Hills triumph last year, Ikeda hits three birdies in the last six holes.
Kawinpakorn, flashing the form that netted her the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour’s season-ending event crown at South Forbes, got to three under through 15 holes but bogeyed No. 16 before hitting birdie on the par-5 No. 17.
“Happy to get into the groove in the last few holes and made those late birdies,” said Ikeda, who had a rollercoaster run of two birdies against two bogeys in the first seven holes. After five pars, she drilled in a six-foot birdie putt on No. 13 then hit back-to-back birdies from No. 16.
Cyna Rodriguez was two strokes off at 70.
Princess Superal shot a 71, which was matched by Dottie Ardina and Tiranan Yoopan.
Ardina, who birdied No. 9 to snap a run of pars, also floundered with bogeys on Nos. 11 and 16 but birdied the 17th while Yoopan recovered from bogeys on Nos. 7 and 9 with birdies on Nos. 15 and 17.
Thai Chitawadee Duangchan wavered at the finish, suffering a bogey on No. 16 and a triple-bogey on the next to submit a 72, while unheralded Sheryl Villesencio birdied two of the last four for a 73 and tie Thais Pimsadron Sangkagaro and Aunchia Utama at eighth in the event sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.and backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.