CYNA Rodriguez recovered from two strokes down, while Princess Superal struggled in the closing holes as the No. 1 pro and the leading amateur shot 71s to share the lead with two others after one round of the ICTSI Mt. Malarayat Ladies Classic on Wednesday in Lipa City, Batangas.
Amateurs Abby Arevalo and Hwang Min Jeong of Korea were also at one-under.
Rodriguez bogeyed two of the first five holes and fell behind Superal in an early clash of the favorites in the P500,000 54-hole event.
The two-time Ladies Philippine Golf Tour money list topnotcher rebounded with four birdies in a seven-hole stretch from No. 7 before suffering another bogey on No. 14 but played steadier down the stretch to grab a share of the lead.
Superal, who nipped Rodriguez in a playoff to snare the Wack Wack Championship crown last April, hit three birdies in the first 10 holes.
But the former US Girls’ Junior champion suffered bogeys on Nos. 15 and 18 and settled for a tie for the top spot.
“I just lost my touch in the closing holes, especially on No. 18, a birdie hole,” rued Superal, who birdied No. 2, 9 and 10 from close range but flubbed par putts inside seven feet on Nos. 15 and 18.
Abby Arevalo, who came away with a pair of victories in the ICTSI-The Country Club’s campaign in US junior tournaments the last two months, actually took charge early with a fiery 33 at the Mt. Makulot layout. But the 16-year-old find failed to sustain her charge at Mt. Lubo, bogeying Nos. 10, 13 and 17 and needing to birdie the last hole to join Rodriguez and Superal on top.
Hwang came charging back in the last flight and also birdied the final hole for nines of 36-35, creating a four-way logjam at the top in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Former Philippine Ladies Open champion Jayvie Agojo, out to end a string of poor finishes in the circuit sponsored by ICTSI, hit a 35 at Makulot but failed to join the leaders when she missed the green on the tough No. 14 and missed a six-footer for a 72.
Sarah Ababa, winner at Sherwood, suffered four early bogeys but birdied No. 15 to salvage a 75 for joint sixth with Lina de Guzman, Apple Fudolin, Lovelynn Guioguio and Korean Kim So Un.
Amateurs Sofia Chabon and Yuka Saso stood a couple of shots farther back at 77 with 36 holes left in the event backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp.