HARMIE Constantino took charge with an early burst of birdies and held on to a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Challenge at the Aoki course on Wednesday in Gen. Trias, Cavite.
The rookie pro mastering Nos. 8 and 9 for the second straight day to surge ahead by two on a fiery 33 start.
She hit another pair of birdies from No. 14 against a bogey on the 12th but bogeyed the 18th to score a 69.
With a 142 total, the former Univ. of Georgia mainstay closed in on a maiden Ladies Philippine Golf Tour victory, five years after beating an international field sans Princess Superal in the Mt. Malarayat Classic as an amateur.
“I holed in more putts today and played a little less aggressive, so I made less mistakes,” said Constantino, who, however, toned down expectations for a big finish.
“I’m here just to have fun,” she said.
Princess Superal, winner and runner-up in the twin ICTSI Riviera events late last year, bogeyed No. 10 but rebounded with birdies on No. 15 and 16 to card a 71.
The 2019 LPGT top earner closed out with a clutch par for a 143.
Pauline del Rosario, who set an LPGT record by winning four titles in her rookie season in 2017, shot a 72 for a 146 to gain a spot in the championship flight.
With Aoki playing tough, yielding just two under-par cards and another pair of even-par scores in the first two days, challengers struggled to move close to the leaders.
Daniella Uy turned in a second 75 for 150, Chanelle Avaricio recovered from a 79 with a 74 for a 153 in a tie with amateur Laurea Duque, who shot a 76.
Sunshine Baraquiel limped with an 84 for a 162 and Cyna Rodriguez floundered with an 82 for a 163.