MEXICO, Pampanga – Thai Yupaporn Kawinpakorn held off Chihiro Ikeda’s late assault and withstood Dottie Ardina’s solid game to grab a one-stroke lead with a three-under 68 and move closer to another victory on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.
Kawinpakorn matched Ikeda’s closing birdie to thwart the local aces’ charge in the second round of the ICTSI Beverly Place Ladies Classic at the par-71 Beverly Place Golf Club on Wednesday.
Her second three-under card shoved her to the top at 136, moving 18 holes away from scoring a follow-up to her two-stroke triumph at South Forbes in the 2017 season-ending LPGT event last month.
“I played so relaxed today and my irons and wedges contributed to my good score,” said Kawinpakorn, adding she’ll need to play smarter and make the most of her birdie opportunities in Thursday’s final round.
Her last-hole birdie also dropped erstwhile joint leader Ikeda to second at 137 after a 69 which the Fil-Japanese built on three birdies in the last six holes in the P750,000 event sponsored by ICTSI.
Despite her fall, Ikeda remained confident of her title chances but hoped her irons would tick and her putting would continue to click.
“I struggled with my irons at the front but the good thing was my putting clicked,” said Ikeda, seeking to score another victory after ruling the Forest Hills leg last November. “I’ll just play my game tomorrow (today) and try not to put pressure on myself.”
But looming large at third is Ardina, who finally hit her stride and fired a bogey-free, tournament-best 67 to grab third at 138, guaranteeing a shootout for the top P150,000 purse in the 54-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.