PAULINE del Rosario wavered at the back but pounced on local ace Nur Durriyah Damian’s meltdown on No. 15 to snare the Malaysian Ladies Amateur Open crown by three with a closing one-over 73 at the Templer Park Country Club in Kuala Lumpur late Thursday.
Del Rosario blew a two-stroke lead with bogeys on Nos. 11 and 13 but caught a break on Durriyah’s errant second shot on the tight par-5 No. 15 that went out-of-bounds.
The top ICTSI-The Country Club ace played it smart from there, using her trusted 5-iron then a controlled shot from 100 yards for a routine par for a three-stroke lead as Durriyah hobbled with a triple-bogey.
Del Rosario, 16, then salvaged two pars in the last three holes and signed for that 73 and a 54-hole 216 total to beat her SEA Games-bound rivals and annex her biggest win in a young amateur career.
“It was tough out there and I’m just delighted to have done enough to win the championship by a pretty good margin,” said Del Rosario, who also topped her division in the Sportexcel Junior Championship last month, also in Kuala Lumpur then helped Team Philippines claim runner-up honors in last week’s Queen Sirikit Cup in Hong Kong.
Durriyah hobbled with a second straight 75 and slid to third at 220, enabling Fil-Kiwi Julianne Alvarez to snatch second place at 219 with the day’s best 71. Hong Kong’s Michelle Cheung carded a 74 for fourth at 225 while Indonesian Inez Wanamarta shot a 73 for a 226.
“She has improved a lot – in shot-making, iron and short game and decision-making. But she still has to polish her putting stroke, which is very crucial especially in tight finishes,” said ICTSI-TCC coach Bong Lopez.
Del Rosario, who surged ahead by two with a two-under 70 Thursday, went three-up with two birdies against a bogey after nine holes as Durriyah settled for a 36. But the Filipina ace three-putted No. 10 from 25 feet and missed the green on No. 13 for another bogey, enabling Durriyah to draw level heading to No. 15.
“It’s just one of those days when a single hole decided the contest,” said Del Rosario. “My putting has been average all week and I really felt the pressure on the back nine when Durriyah began to make her move. But I kept to my conservative game plan and made a couple of clutch par saves to win it.”
Abby Arevalo made a second 77 and finished at No. 12 with a 232 while teammate Sam Martirez limped with an 81 for a 243.