AMATEUR Princess Superal upstaged the pros with a brilliant bogey-free nine-under 60, posting a four-stroke lead over Chihiro Ikeda in the first round of the P500,000 ICTSI Camp John Hay Ladies Philippine Golf Tour event on Tuesday in Baguio City.
Two eagles at the back nine of the par-69 layout spiked a fiery windup for the young, talented shotmaker from the ICTSI golf stable.
Ikeda matched Superal’s two-eagle feat, but still trailed by four with a 64.
“I just had a good day. Solid drives, iron shots and putting,” said Superal, herself a bit surprised. The spectacular round was real close to the 58 on the men’s tour by Carl Santos-Ocampo on a par-68 in last year’s ICTSI John Hay Invitational.
Although Superal fashioned out her latest exploit on a composite blue-white tee set-up, it still showed the brilliance in the diminutive 16-year-old lass, who birdied Nos. 1 and 6 then turned on the heat on a cold day with a solid iron game that set up short birdies on Nos. 10, 11 and 13.
She holed out from 67 yards out on the par-4 No. 14 then rolled in a four-footer off a 3-wood second shot from 210 yards on the par-5 16th for her eagles.
Ikeda drove the 247-yard par-4 No. 12 to within six feet off the cup then two-putted on No. 16 before completing her big rebound from a one-over card at the turn with birdies on the last two holes for a 28 and a 64.
"I played tight in the early going but settled down at the back and my two eagles helped me get back into the game," said Ikeda, who is preparing for the second stage of qualifying on the Step Up Tour in Japan.
Pauline del Rosario, the other top amateur from Team ICTSI, shot an impressive three-under 66 for solo third, highlighting her 33-33 round with an eagle-2 on the 267-yard No. 8 which she drove to within eight feet.
“I’m very happy with my round but I have to work on my putting. I had another eagle try but missed.” said Del Rosario.
Thai invitee Amolkan Phalajibin missed joining Del Rosario at third with a bogey-bogey finish as the comely veteran of the Asian Ladies Tour and China Tour made a one-under 68 on her first stint on the ICTSI LPGT for joint fourth with Lucy Landicho, who rallied with an eagle and a birdie on the last three holes to salvage a 37-31 card.
Amateur Abby Arevalo, another Team ICTSI mainstay and winner of the individual crown in the just-concluded PAL Ladies Interclub, birdied two of the last seven holes to card a one-over 70 for solo sixth in the 54-hole championship serving as the final leg of the five-stage inaugural ladies pro circuit sponsored by ICTSI.
Cyna Rodriguez failed to recover from a poor start of 38 and hobbled with her putting all day, limping with a four-over 73 in a tournament she was heavily favored to win after back-to-back titles at Eagle Ridge and Wack Wack.
“My drives were on form but my putting was really off today,” rued Rodriguez, who had three three-putts and fell 13 strokes behind Superal in the company of Lovelynn Guioguio (38-35) and amateur Felicia Medalla (37-36), who ruled the recent national match play championship.
Jayvie Agojo, the other pre-tournament favorite in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Gatorade, Sharp and Custom Clubmakers, birdied the opening hole but had a roller-coaster ride on the rolling layout the rest of the way, fumbling with four bogeys and one double-bogey again two more birdies for a three-over 72.
The former Philippine Ladies Open champion, who had two runner-up finishes going into this event, was in a tie with amateurs Mikaela Fortuna (37-35) and Sam Bruce (36-36), 12 shots off Superal.