PRINCESS Superal stayed bogey-free through 36 holes, shooting a five-under 64 to extend her lead to eight strokes on Wednesday in the ICTSI Camp John Hay Ladies Philippine Golf Tour event in Baguio City.
Tough pin placements failed to prevent Superal from attacking, the 16-year-old lass hitting five birdies inside seven to create more distance from pursuers Chihiro Ikeda and fellow amateur Pauline del Rosario.
She made her last birdie on the par-3, 153-yard No. 15 beside the John Hay clubhouse where she struck a superb 6-iron tee shot that sailed over the rolling fairway and bunkers and rested eight feet off the target.
Superal nodded meekly as she acknowledged the cheers from the gallery, as the young parbuster remained without a bogey for 36 holes on a course that punishes wayward shots. She had her share of mishits but each time, she came through with big recoveries, including on Nos. 4 and 9 from eight feet.
She is at 14-under 124 and way ahead of the field, but Superal refuses to play conservative in the final 18 holes of the P500,000 event serving as the final leg of the five-stage circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“I’m playing great but even with the lead, it’s not yet over. I will still try to finish strong,” said Superal.
Ikeda, the former SEA Games champion, started the day in solo second place and four strokes off but failed to mount any serious challenge. She hit a bogey on the 17th and carded a 68.
“There are still 18 holes left, it can still be done. I’ll make a charge and I hope to find my putting touch,” said Ikeda, who hit just three birdies against two bogeys while missing three birdie chances inside five feet.
Del Rosario sizzled at the finish for a 66 and gained a share of second at 132.
While majority of the pros continued to struggle on the short but tricky layout made tougher by difficult pin placements, Superal kept making the course look easy with her brilliant play from tee to green, along with four other amateurs, who also continued to dish out top form in another windless day.
Del Rosario, a Junior World champion (13-14), went five-under in the last five holes – capped by an eagle on the par-5 17th. She actually sparked his fiery windup with a tap-in birdie on No. 12 then strung up three straight birdies from No. 14 from long range then rolled in a 16-footer on No. 17 off a 5-wood second shot from 200 yards.
What made her finish even more impressive was that the 15-year-old De La Salle-Zobel and Team ICTSI mainstay recovered from a double-par mishap on the par-3, 145-yard No. 11 where she mishit a 7-iron tee-shot to the deep right side of the green and needed three more shots to get on.
Mikaela Fortuna, the other young member of Team ICTSI, Jayvie Agojo and another amateur Sam Bruce turned in similar 67s and were tied at 139.
Cyna Rodriguez, winner at Eagle Ridge and Wack Wack, recovered from an opening 73 with a 69 although she stood way behind at 142, 18 shots off Superal.
Thailand’s Amolkan Phalajivin, who hit an opening 68, had a 75 and tumbled down to joint eight at 143 with Lucy Landicho, who also had a 75. Amateur Abby Arevalo hobbled with a 74 after a 70 and slid to 10th at 144 in the tournament sponsored by ICTSI and backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Gatorade, Sharp and Custom Clubmakers.
Lina de Guzman teamed up with Bong Mangaoang, Romy Tio and Nestor Pablo, the group scoring 23-under 46 to rule the pro-am tournament Monday. Eva Minoza, with teammates Manny Solis, Pol Mayos and Ed Montenegro placed second with a 47 and Thai Amolkan Phalajivin, along with Stanley Dangatan, Nic Ventura and Tony Fernandez, scored 49 to finish third.