PAULINE del Rosario fired an eagle-aided 68 for a four-stroke lead after the first round of the ICTSI Splendido Ladies Classic on Tuesday at Taal Splendido Golf Club in Tagaytay.
Looking to bounce back from a third place finish at Forest Hills, Del Rosario put on a strong start with three birdies in the first eight holes then rebounded from a three-putt miscue on No. 9 with an eagle from 40 feet on the par-5 No. 10.
“I really prepared hard for this after Forest Hills, where I relaxed a bit coming off a long break,” said del Rosario.
Chihiro Ikeda, winner at Forest Hills, had a disastrous 40 on the front nine but bounced back on the back nine, birdying three of the first four holes then negating a bogey on No. 16 with closing back-to-back birdies for a 72.
Cyna Rodriguez, who topped the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit winner trhee times, was six shots off the after a two-over 74.
She opened with a birdie on the par-5 No. 2 but struggled the rest of the way, dropping strokes on Nos. 7 and 8 before bogeying the par-3 12th.
“I’ll just try to play the same as today and hope to make the most of my birdie chances,” said Del Rosario.
“Cyna and Chihiro are seasoned players so I will just try to lessen a couple of mistakes on the course.”
Chonlada Chayanun of Thailand was in fourth at 75.
Pre-tournament favorite Princess Superal fired an 80 for a share of 12th with Sarah Ababa.
Superal overcame a double-bogey on the first hole with birdies on the next two but the former LPGT champion fumbled with another double-bogey on the ninth then had a back nine 41 marred by a triple-bogey 7 on the 18th in the P750,000 event backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.