DOTTIE Ardina finally turned in a round expected from a player of her caliber, shooting a four-under 67 in tough conditions for a two-stroke lead over after the second round of the ICTSI Beverly Place Ladies Classic here on Thursday in Mexico, Pampanga.
Ardina rebounded from a one-over 72 start, carding nines of 32-35 as she found her range and rhythm on a day the erstwhile frontrunners faded at the short but tricky course made more daunting by its unreceptive greens.
The LPGA Tour-bound shotmaker wasn’t spared the ordeal but the Canlubang ace made the most of her near-impeccable iron game to churn out the lone under-par score for the day, taking control at 139.
Thais Punpaka Phuntumabamrung and Chonlada Chayanun were at 141s after a 71 and 72, respectively.
“My irons were good but I struggled with my putting. I missed at least five birdie chances inside seven feet and could’ve finished with a seven-under card,” said Ardina, who gunned down four birdies after 16 holes then recovered from a three-putt mishap on the 17th with a closing birdie from 15 feet.
"The greens are hard and I had to adjust my approach shots," said Ardina.
Chayanun, whose late charge netted her a 69 and a share of the first round lead with compatriots Mookharin Ladgratok and Ornnicha Konsunthea Wednesday, rallied against with three birdies in the last five holes in a big bounce-back from a four-over card. She salvaged a 37-35 card and tied Phuntumabamrung, who strung up nines of 34-37 at second.
“I played really bad. Luckily, I was able to recover at the back,” said the 26-year-old Chayanun, also due for a big win in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. following a number of top five finishes.
Pauline del Rosario, top earner in 2017, failed to get going for the second straight day although her three-birdie, three-bogey effort got her past a number of rivals for solo fourth place at 143, four shots behind.
Princess Superal, who topped the Order of Merit last year, never recovered from a bogey-bogey misfortune from No. 3, dropping strokes on Nos. 11 and 17 against a lone birdie on the 10th to lay five strokes adrift at 144.
Impressive with opening 69s, Konsunthea and Ladgratok spent the day trying to check their shaky games. The former bogeyed the first hole and yielded two strokes on the next to drop off the leaderboard, and the latter struggled with bogey-riddled back nine.
Konsunthea stumbled with another bogey on No. 13 but fought back with two birdies in the next three holes only to fade again with a double bogey finish for a 75, while Ladgratok made four bogeys in the last nine to drop to joint sixth at 145 with former top jungolfer Daniella Uy, who hobbled with a 73.
Only 17 players advanced to the final round with Thais Nattapan Siritrai (76), Aunchisa Utama (77), Jaruporn P Na Ayutthaya (77) and Tiranan Yoopan (77) barely making the cut at 149.
Alisara Wedchakama (71) and Kamonwan Lueamsri (73) assembled identical 146s, Saraporn Chamchoi (72) and Chihiro Ikeda (77) both had 147s and Narisara Kerdrit also skied to a 77 for a 148 but all stood too far behind for a shot at the top P150,000 purse in the third leg of the circuit backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Empire Golf and Sports and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc.