TARLAC – Fil-Am Cristina Corpus went on a birdie binge at the back to leapfrog Thai Walailak Satarak, shooting a two-under par 70 post a three-stroke romp for her first career victory in the ICTSI Luisita Ladies Challenge on Friday.
Corpus, who tied Satarak for the lead with a 73 after 36 holes, surged ahead by one after a tight frontside duel then pulled away by rattling off three birdies in the first four holes at the tough backside of Luisita Golf Club.
The 26-year-old shotmaker from Orlando, Florida saved her best for last, humbling a slew of Thai challengers and local aces Lovelynn Guioguio and Sarah Ababa with her fiery backside charge to finally clinch the elusive win with a 219.
“I’m really amazed with how I played this week but I really didn’t expect to win,” said Corpus, who never gained a crack at the championship in her previous campaigns on the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour until she caught up with Satarak at the helm on Thursday.
“My irons and short game made it all possible and I became confident after I birdied No. 10 and went 2-up over Satarak,” added Corpus who banked the top P100,000 purse, her biggest since winning the Suncoast tournament in Florida three years ago.
Satarak finished with a 36 for a 73 and took the runner-up prize of P70,000 with a 222. Supakchaya Pattaranakrueang also carded a 70 and finished tied for third with compatriot and first-round leader Saraporn Chamchoi, who turned in a 73, at 225 in the sixth leg of the eight-stage circuit sponsored by ICTSI.
Ababa, the third player in the final group who started the day three shots behind the joint leaders, threatened in the early going with a birdie on No. 4 but didn’t hit another birdie until the 15th when she was already way behind after two bogeys and a disastrous triple-bogey seven on No. 14.
She ended up with a 40 and a 77 for a 229, enabling Guioguio to clinch fifth place at 226 after a 73.
Last year’s Splendido leg winner Amolkan Phalajivin, also of Thailand, lost her rhythm after an even par 36 start, limping with a 42 at the challenging backnine for a 78 and a 231.
Jayvie Agojo, another former winner on the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., shot a 74 and wound up eighth at 233 while Apple Fudolin placed ninth at 236 after a 79.
Lina de Guzman made a 78 for 10th at 237.