CHIHIRO Ikeda fired a bogey-free six-under 63 to seize a five-stroke lead over Princess Superal at the start of the ICTSI Camp John Hay Ladies Championship in Baguio on Wednesday.
Ikeda sizzled in hot but soft conditions with solid driving and superb iron play that produced six birdies, including four at the front of the up-and-down layout.
“I struggled with my putting during the pro-am but it clicked today and that complemented my driving and iron game,” said Ikeda, who tied for 24th at Pradera last week.
Superal struggled with her irons, bogeying three of the six par-3s, although she birdied Nos. 8 and 14 then eagled the par-5 16th for solo second at 68 on a course where she reigned in the last stop of the five-stage LPGT inaugurals in 2013 as an amateur.
Despite her shaky start, Superal said she was satisfied with her game, particularly off the tee, an aspect of her game that has been hampering her campaign especially against the long hitters on the international stage.
“My game’s okay especially my driving where I’ve added some yardage, so I’m quite excited,” said Superal. “I will just focus on my game and won’t mind other players’.”
Thai Ajira Nualraksa suffered a bogey on the closing hole, carding an even-par 69 for joint third with Daniella Uy.
Amateur golfer Chanelle Avaricio birdied the last two par-5s — Nos. 16 and 17 — to save a 70 and join Pamela Mariano and Thailand’s Numa Gulyanamitta at fifth.
Sarah Ababa carded a 71 to tie amateur Mafy Singson. Sam Dizon, another amateur golfer in the field, carded a 73.
Tiranan Yoopan and amateur player Eagle Ace Superal birdied the first two holes but the duo lost their touch and poise and limped with bogeys and a triple bogey each to limp home with 76s in a tie with Marvi Monsalve in the 54-hole event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Empire Golf and Sports and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc.