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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Avaricio slips with 74, but stays ahead by 1

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Lubao, Pampanga—Chanelle Avaricio barely survived a wind-blown day here Pradera Verde, coming in ruffled by the gusts for a 74 that set the stage for a wild finish in the ladies side of the ICTSI Pradera Verde Championship yesterday.

Chanelle Avaricio still held the lead at 141 but the seven-shot turnaround from her fiery opening 67 typified the daunting challenge that the field had to endure. Manny Marcelo

The three-leg winner still held the lead at 141 but the seven-shot turnaround from her fiery opening 67 typified the daunting challenge that the field had to endure although three broke par to make it a wide-open battle for top honors in the 54-hole, P1.25 million championship.

Harmie Constantino fought back from a mishap on No. 4 with birdies on Nos. 6 and 12 for a second straight 71 and a 142 while Florence Bisera gunned down four birdies against two bogeys to wrest solo third at 143 after 36 holes of play.

With Pamela Mariano also firing a 71 for a 145, a four-way battle for top P168,750 is in the works with the rest needing to come up with low rounds in another expected blustery conditions to get a stab at glory.

“I struggled on the greens with my club selection. I think nahirapan ako sa hangin at yun ang adjustment,” said Avaricio, who hardly recovered from three bogeys in the first six holes although her second straight birdie on No. 10 kept her on top of the field she beat by six when she won here last June.

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“I really wasn’t hitting it close to the pin and I didn’t really give myself chance (for birdies),” added the Hallow Ridge and Caliraya Springs leg champion who is using this tournament as part of her buildup for the LPGA Q-School Stage II in Florida next month.

She later headed to the practice green to polish her stroke while vowing to make the necessary adjustments and not to be too aggressive in pursuit of a fourth championship.

But her rivals are all keen on ending her domination with Constantino hoping to keep her consistent play to help fuel her drive for a third leg victory after winning two in a resounding rookie season last year.

“I think I really played consistent today (yesterday). Everything else was pretty consistent and I will try to the same thing tomorrow (today) – hit more greens and make more putts,” said Constantino.

But Bisera is also out to make the most of her big second round charge with Mariano needing a lot of work to do from four down to boost her chances for a breakthrough win in the season-ending regular championship of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and sponsored by ICTSI.

Sunshine Baraquiel, the winner at Highlands last year, stayed close to the leaders with a two-birdie, one double-bogey card at the front. But she crumbled at the back, limping with four bogeys for a 76 and a 147 for joint fifth with Gretchen Villacencio, who carded a 74.

Apple Fudolin rebounded from a 76 with a gutsy 72 but at 148, she remained seven strokes off Avaricio, while former Sherwood Hills leg winner Sarah Ababa and brand-new pro Kim Seoyun of Korea, who finished runner-up to Rianne Malixi while playing as an amateur at Riviera, stumbled with 75 and 76, respectively, for identical 149s.

Amateur Mafy Singson, only three strokes behind at second after a 70, never recovered from a bogey-marred frontside 40, dropping another shot on No. 10 and making two double bogeys from Nos. 13 and 14. She, however, birdied the 17th for the second straight day but tumbled from second to joint 10th at 150 with Marvi Monsalve, who struggled with a 77.

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