CYNA Rodriguez went on an early birdie-binge to shoot a four-under 68 in windy conditions for a two-stroke lead over US Girls champion Princess Superal after Tuesday’s opening round of the ICTSI Sherwood Ladies Championship at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Trece Martires, Cavite.
Rodriguez bucked the early morning gusts and hit three straight birdies from No. 3 to wrest control of the event offering a top prize of P150,000.
“It’s oddly windy in the morning and that altered some of our shots,” said Rodriguez, who gunned down two more birdies at the back to negate a missed-green bogey on No. 13.
Superal hit four birdies in the last 13 holes to fire a two-under 70 and lead five other amateurs chasing Rodriguez in the P750,000 season-ender of the eight-stage Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.
“The course is pretty long and I need to improve on my short game and putting to contend,” said Superal, aiming to duplicate her record win in the final leg of the circuit’s inaugurals in Baguio last year where she scored an eight-shot win.
Pauline del Rosario birdied the 18th to card a one-under 71 for solo third, Sam Martirez and Korea’s Seong Eun Jeong matched par 72s, while Sofia Chabon turned in a 73 for solo sixth.
Former amateur standout Anya Tanpinco emerged as the next best-placed pro at 74, tying amateurs Yuka Saso and Harmie Constantino.
Amy Phalajivin, winner at Splendido in September, hobbled with six bogeys and hit only one birdie for a 77.
“I’ll try to give chase and put myself within the top three in the final round,” said Tanpinco, who hit two birdies against four bogeys.
Jayvie Agojo, who won the second leg at Riviera, hit two birdies but fumbled with six bogeys and a double-bogey and limped with a 78.
“This is a nice way to begin the tournament. But nobody wins in the first round. I have to target birdies in the last two days and press on with my good game,” Rodriguez said.
Chihiro Ikeda had a 75 for a share of 10th with Apple Fudolin and Lovelynn Guioguio.
Amateur Abby Arevalo birdied Nos. 10 and 12 but made a triple-bogey on No. 13 and wound up with a 76 in a tie with Sarah Ababa.
Korean amateur Hwang Min Jeong birdied three of the last six holes against a bogey for a 77 to join Phalajivin at 15th in the 54-hole event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by Nike, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp.