CHIHIRO fired a two-under 69 for a two-stroke lead over amateur Bernice Ilas in the first round of the ICTSI Beverly Place Challenge on Wednesday in Mexico, Pampanga.
A perennial contender but never a winner on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, Ikeda came up with three birdies on the front nine at Beverly Place Golf Club and birdied the par-5 closing hole to negate her bogey mishaps on Nos. 10 and 17.
Ilas had two birdies and two bogeys for a 71.
Mikha Fortuna suffered a bogey on the par-5 17th and wound up with a 73, which was matched by Lovelyn Guioguio, who gunned down four birdies but had the same number of bogeys with one double bogey.
Sam Martirez struggled at the front with three bogeys but steadied with a run of pars, including two flubbed birdie chances, in the last nine holes for a 74.
Sarah Ababa, winner at the tough Sherwood Hills leg last year, also finished without a birdie and had four bogeys for a 75 in a tie with Jayvie Agojo and Fil-Am Cristina Corpus.
Malaysian amateur Kellie Kan shot a 76 in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Sharp, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Champion, TaylorMade and Pacsports, sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.