SARAH Ababa shot an even par 72 to take a two-stroke lead over Korean amateur Hwang Min Jeong in the second round of the ICTSI Sherwood Ladies Championship on Wednesday.
Ababa hit two birdies early then checked a bogey-bogey mishap from No. 14 with a birdie from eight feet on No. 16, emerging as be the best in demanding conditions at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Cavite.
Ababa pooled a 145 for a two-shot lead over Hwang, who missed joining the Filipino shotmaker at the helm with a double-bogey on the 18th, settling for a 74 and a 147 in a tie with overnight leader Chihiro Ikeda.
Ikeda faltered with four bogeys in the last five holes for a 76.
Korea’s Kim So Un carded a 77 for joint fourth at 153 with Anya Tanpinco, who limped with a 78.
Cyna Rodriguez also had a 78 after an opening 76 for a 154 total, nine shots off Ababa.
“I just went out there and played my game, hit a chip-in birdie on No. 5 and birdied the par-5 No. 8 for the second straight day,” said Ababa, looking to end a three-year search for a championship.
“I actually struggled in last few holes and made bogeys but sank a long putt on No. 16 to keep me going.”
Hwang loomed as a serious threat as the young shotmaker held her ground against the pros with a gutsy round of two birdies against two bogeys and a slew of regulation pars on the hard greens of Sherwood until she wavered with that last-hole mishap.
Another Korean amateur, Koh Eu Na, shot a 79 and stood behind Rodriguez at 153 while American Cristina Corpus skied to an 81 for a 158 and former leg winner Thai Amolkan Phalajivin fell out of the race with an 84 for a 160 in the fifth leg of the eight-stage circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, inc.