THAILAND’S Saruttaya Ngam-usawan fired an eagle-aided two-under 69 for a one-stroke lead over Pauline del Rosario at the start of the ICTSI Riviera Ladies Championship at Riviera’s Langer course in Silang, Cavite.
Ngam-usawan, back on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour after ruling the Royal Northwoods leg late last year, was one-over on the front nine but went eagle-birdie to start the back nine of the par-71 layout.
Pauline de Rosario, chasing a third straight championship after topping the Orchard and Baguio stops of the circuit sponsored by ICTSI, carded a 70.
Amateur golfer Abby Arevalo birdied the tricky par-3 17th and saved a 73 for third spot.
Sarah Ababa shot a 74for a share of fourth with Thailand’s Tiranan Yoopan, Numa Gulyanamitta, Supakchaya Pattarankrueang and Sarinee Thitiratanakorn.
Amateur Bianca Pagdanganan also settled for a 74 as the reigning Philippine Ladies Open champion bogeyed two of the last three holes.
Chihiro Ikeda hit just one birdie against four bogeys and a double-bogey as she fell way behind at 76 in a tie with Thailand’s Chatprapa Siriprakob.
After a mediocre start on a hot but windy day, Ngam-usawan hit a hybrid second shot from 170 yards on the par-5 10th to within nine feet which she knocked in for eagle then added a pair of birdies inside six feet on Nos. 11 and 14 to wrest control in the tournament organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.