Filipina golfers seven strokes off pace in Queen Sirikit Cup in Korea
Yuka Saso shows the way for the Filipinas.

YUKA Saso shot an even par 72 as the Philippines struggled with a 147 and trailed fancied defending champion South Korea by seven in the first round of the Queen Sirikit Cup at the Ora Country Club on Wednesday in Jeju-Do, Korea.

Princess Superal and Pauline del Rosario hobbled with identical 75s in the three-to-play, two-to-count format event.

Park Hyun Kyung set in motion her bid for a second straight gold medal, firing a three-under 69.

Choi Hye-jin carded a 71 for the hosts’ 140 total in the opener of the three-day championship that drew 13 countries from the Asia-Pacific region. Lee Gayong shot a 75.

“I had a good round, hit a lot of good shots but missed a number of birdie chances,” said Saso.

New Zealand and China assembled identical 145s.

Australia, a former champion here, also struggled with a 150 to place behind the Philippines at fifth while India pooled a 151 followed by Hong Kong (153), Thailand (153), Malaysia (153), Japan (155), Singapore (157), Indonesia (161) and Myanmar (164).

“We could’ve shot better but we had a terrible weather today (yesterday). It was totally different during our practice round,” said Philippine team coach Bong Lopez, also the mentor of Team The Country Club headed by Superal and Del Rosario.

Superal struggled with her iron game.

“My driving was okay but I couldn’t hit my irons the way I wanted,” rued Superal, who is coming off a number of victories this year, including the Philippine Ladies Open and the Hong Kong Amateur Ladies Open.

Del Rosario was actually lucky to have played yesterday as the newly crown Johor Amateur Open champion twisted her right ankle during Monday’s practice. She didn’t play her second practice round Tuesday but couldn’t hit it well and marred her round with a double-bogey after driving out-of-bounds. 

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