CYNA Rodriguez bucked a shaky windup and Mia Piccio’s strong finish to salvage a one-stroke lead, setting in motion her bid for a second straight championship with a two-under 70 in the P500,000 ICTSI Wack Wack Ladies Philippine Golf Tour at Wack Wack’s West course on Tuesday.
Three-up with two holes to play on a humid day, Rodriguez bogeyed the par-4 No. 17 after missing the green then watched Piccio birdie the 18th from 20 feet for a 71, barely keeping the lead she seized after pouncing on her rival’s faulty start at the back.
“The greens aren’t in top shape but I’m very happy to have putted well,” said Rodriguez.
The par-72 layout, severely hit by a recent typhoon, is still being spruced up, its putting surface littered with brown patches and not as receptive as it used to be, forcing the organizers to apply winter rules.
Rodriguez, Eagle Ridge two weeks ago, matched Piccio’s two-under 34 start in a virtual shootout in the featured group that included Tracy Que.
She went two-up after Piccio made back-to-back bogeys from No. 10, made it a three-shot lead with a birdie on No. 12 only to drop a stroke on the par-5 No. 13 after missing the green. She, however, restored a three-stroke lead with a tap-in birdie on No. 15.
But just when she appeared to be on her way to posting a big cushion in the 54-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI, Rodriguez missed the 17th green again and failed to sink a six-footer. Piccio, after a run of pars from No. 12 to 17, knocked down a long birdie putt on the last hole to make it a one-stroke match.
“I’m happy to finish at under-par,” said Piccio, coming off an impressive joint third finish in the first stage of the LPGA Qualifier in California. “Overall, it was a good game but I need to be more consistent.”
Chihiro Ikeda hobbled with a three-over 75 for joint third with Del Monte’s Apple Fudolin, while ace amateur Princess Superal fumbling with a four-over 76 for fifth in the tournament offering a top prize of P100,000.
Ikeda, out to improve on her runner-up finish at ICTSI LPGT Canlubang, failed to find her rhythm and went four-over after 12 holes with three straight bogeys from No. 10. She birdied the 17th for nines of 37-38.
Fudolin also hit a birdie on the 18th to match Ikeda’s output while Superal, fresh from a runaway victory in Kuala Lumpur, made four bogeys in the last 10 holes to sit six shots behind with 36 holes to play in the fourth leg of the ladies pro circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Gatorade, Sharp and Custom Clubmakers.
Felicia Medalla, another amateur, birdied two of the last five holes to card a 77 for sixth, while Jayvie Agojo had a 78 for joint seventh with amateur Harmie Constantino.