MIKHA Fortuna fired a bogey-free seven-under 65 to seize a three-stroke lead on Thursday in the second round of the 2018 Champion Infinity Philippine Ladies Open on Thursday at the Orchard Golf and Country Club in Dasmarinas, Cavite.
Rebounding from a bogey-bogey finish that cost her the first round lead and enabled Yuka Saso to take charge on Wednesday, Fortuna birdied the first three holes and strung together three more birdies from No. 12.
The 17-year-old The Country Club spearhead then capped her explosive round with birdie on the 18th.
“My short game and putting came in very hand today. I made a lot of one putts and it felt great,” said Fortuna, who is coming off a sixth place finish in last week’s Philippine Amateur Open.
With a 136 aggregate, Fortuna holds a three-stroke cushion over Saso heading to the final 18 holes of the country’s premier championship organized and conducted by the Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines.
“Mikha was so good with her putting and I have to match that tomorrow (today) to get a chance,” said Saso, seeking to add the Philippine Ladies Open crown to her pro victory at Ayala Greenfield in the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour last week.
The 16-year-old Saso struggled with her putter, losing the lead early with a three-putt bogey on No. 1.
The Fil-Japanese ace fought back with birdies on Nos. 2, 6, 9 and 14 but settled for pars the rest of the way to finish with a 69.
Saso was at 139, while Thai Trachuentong Pinkaew fired an eagle-aided 68 to move to solo third at 140.
Pinkaew, who eagled No. 6, got to six under through 11 holes but stumbled with a missed green bogey on No. 14 and three-putted No. 17.
Bianca Pagdanganan, winner by nine last year at Wack Wack, hobbled with a 73 and slipped to fourth at 144, eight shots off the pace.
“I couldn’t make enough birdie putts,” rued Pagdanganan.
Harmie Constantino also struggled with a 74 for a 145 for joint fifth with Thai Phannarai Meesom-us, who also carded a 74.
Thailand’s Kultida Pramphun turned in a second straight 73 for a 146 in the event backed by backed by Champion Infinity, Eva Air, San Miguel Corp., Metro Pacific, Atty. Gilberto Duavit, Inquirer, Alveo Land, G&W Clubshares, Inc., Crimson Hotel Filinvest, Golfers Club Shares Inc., Cherrylume and NGAP.