MIA Piccio fired a 70 to take a one-stroke lead over Korea’s Lee Jeong Hwa in the second round of the ICTSI Champion Tour presented by Champion and Taiwan LPGA on Thursday at Southwoods’ Legends Course in Cavite.
Piccio took control early and was three strokes clear before a bogey on the par-5 17th which Lee birdied. Piccio is at seven-under 137, while Lee is at 138 after a 71.
“If I keep this kind of game, I have a good chance winning the title. But I need to play steady and make good decisions,” said the 24-year-old Piccio.
Lee is confident of taking the top spot in the final 18 holes, having scored a come-from-behind win at Splendido just last week.
“Mia’s distance off the tee will help her but I think it will boil down to putting and whoever gets the breaks since both are playing and hitting well,” said coach Joel Altea.
Amateur player Sam Martirez added a 72 to her opening 67.
“Sam made a good pitch on No. 18 but missed but she is capable of scoring low so she still has a chance for title as well as Pauline del Rosario,” said TCC coach Bong Lopez.
“But Sam must play relaxed and stay focused throughout.”
Del Rosario shot the day’s best 67 highlighted by four straight birdies from No. 11, moving from joint 30th to a share of fourth at three-under 141.
Also in fourth spot were Japan’s Fumika Kawagishi, who shot a 74, Thailand’s Kanphanitnan Muangkhumaskul, who fired a 71, and Yumi Takabayashi of Japan, who carded a 74.
Takabayashi hit back-to-back birdies from No. 13 but stumbled with two straight bogeys from No. 15.
“I couldn’t do anything good out there. I suffered mental stress because of my poor game,” said the 29-year-old Takabayashi.
Dottie Ardina settled for another 72 to drop to joint 16th at 144 in the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services Inc., organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by adidas, Custom Clubmakers, KZG, TaylorMade, Champion, Summit Natural Drinking Water, Pacsports, Sharp and Rustans Supermarket.
The US$75,000 tournament is the second leg of the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour and sixth stage of the Taiwan LPGA.