PRINCESS Superal had a fiery start to score a three-under 69, while Pauline del Rosario recovered from a horrendous opening round to post a gutsy 72 Thursday to power the Philippines to a two-stroke lead over China and Korea in the Queen Sirikit Cup at the Saujana Golf and Country Club in Malaysia.
The Filipina golfers’ 141 gave the team a with a 36-hole aggregate of 284 heading to the final round of the championship featuring 13 countries in the Asia Pacific region.
The 17-year-old Superal, the Southeast Asian Games champion, leaned on a hot start at the back nine of the tight Bunga Raya Course, making birdie on three of the first four holes then salvaging a couple of pars.
Del Rosario, whose opening 84 was disregarded in the three-to-play two-to-count format, played fine this time and birdied No. 14 to go one-under. She missed the 18th green and failed to return a six-footer for bogey.
South Korea, which shared the first-round lead with the Philippines, carded a second straight 143 for a 286, enabling China to gain a share of second with a 141.
Miya Legaspi, who anchored the Philippines’ solid start with a 69 on opening day, was the one who did not count this time.
She was already one under for the day but hit bogeys on Nos. 12 and 14 and wound up with a one-over 73.
That dropped her to joint second in the individual competition with a 142, four strokes behind Chinese Shi Yuting, who took charge with a 138 after a 70.
Also at 142 were Taiwan’s Ssu Chia Cheng, who fired a tournament-best 67, and Korean Lee So-young, who had a 71.
“Princess played a steady game and bucked tough pin placements with steady putting,” said Philippine team skipper Cora Suntay of the Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines. “It will be an exciting shotmaking and putting competition among the Philippines, China and Korea in the final round.”
Superal moved from 10th to fourth with a 143, five shots behind Shi.
“It’s a big deficit but Princess is determined to go for it although her focus is on helping ensure the Philippines a first-ever Queen Sirikit crown,” said Team ICTSI coach Bong Lopez.
The Philippines is eyeing its first ever Queen Sirikit Cup crown after finishing second twice to South Korea – first in 2007 at The Country Club on a team built around Dottie Ardina, Regina de Guzman and Princess’ sister Crystal Superal, and in 2011 in India, again behind Ardina, Chihiro Ikeda and Jayvie Agojo.
Ardina, now a player on the Symetra Tour in the US, won the individual championship in 2011.