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Monday, May 27, 2024

Uy stays on top, but Bisera, Ababa lurk

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ANTIPOLO—Daniella Uy quickly overhauled Sarah Ababa’s four-stroke lead with an eagle-aided five-under card after 13 holes but nearly blew a four-shot cushion with a wavering windup, setting the stage for a frantic finish in the ICTSI Forest Hills Classic here yesterday.

Uy did grab the lead at 138 after a three-under 68 at the Forest Hills’ Nicklaus course but Florence Bisera pounced on the former’s bogeys on Nos. 15 and 18 with a birdie-birdie feat from No. 16 in a flight ahead in a big four-shot swing in the last four holes that put the latter threateningly close for a breakthrough at 139 after a day-best 67, which she also laced with an eagle on the par-5 No. 6.

Ababa holed out with a birdie on No. 18 to salvage a bogey-riddled 74 after a solid 66 Tuesday but the Davaoena shotmaker still stayed in the thick of things with a 140 going to the last 18 holes of the P1 million event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

Daniella Uy vows to be calm during the final day of the tournament. Manny Marcelo

“Actually, I just focused on the process instead on the results,” said Uy, adding that she also didn’t think about Sarah’s game so as not to disrupt her concentration.

That led to her big onslaught midway through in hot conditions as she knocked down four birdies, including a 25-footer on No. 11 that came after splitting the par-5 10th fairway with a 3-wood that left her 210 yards to the green then hitting another superb shot to within 6 feet for eagle to go 4-up over Ababa.

But a shaky windup enabled Bisera and Ababa to keep it close, ensuring a wild chase for the top P120,000 prize in the seventh leg of the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.

“In every game, I always go for a win,” said Uy, in pursuit of a follow-up to her maiden victory at Riviera in 2021. “Tomorrow (today), I’ll try to be calm and not think about their (rivals’) scores.”

Ababa also stuck to her game plan all day and despite her pair of 37s, she liked how she fared off the mound that had her hitting 12 fairways. But she wrestled with her putting, ending up with a couple of three-putt miscues that ruined her second round bid.

“I also missed a number of up-and-down bids,” added Ababa, who, however, remained upbeat of her chances to end an eight-year title spell.

“I’m confident of my driving heading to tomorrow’s (today) final round. I’ve been working on my long game at Villamor and Valley and I like my chances.”

Barely reaching No. 6 in two, Bisera pulled out her trusted 54-degree wedge and went for a chip-and-roll that dropped in, startling her no end.

“I was really surprised that it went in. I struggled with my irons but had a good short game,” said Bisera after putting herself within a shot and closer to a dream title.

“My plan tomorrow (today) is to hit the fairways and focused on short game,” she added.

Lois Kaye Go likewise battled back from a 74 with a 69 but the top amateur still stood five strokes off Uy at 143 while rookie pro Mikha Fortuna hardly recovered from a bogey-bogey mishap from No. 4, hitting two birdies in the last 8 holes but making three bogeys in a four-hole stretch from No. 12 for a 74

She pooled a 144 for fifth even as Chihiro Ikeda birdied the last two holes in a big frontside finish to put in a 68 after a 78 for a 146.

Two-leg winner Harmie Constantino carded a 70 after a 77 for a 147, nine shots off the pace, while Apple Fudolin skied to a 77 after a 71 for a 148, Korean Min Yeong Kim floundered with a 78 for a 150, and Pamela Mariano fought back from a 78 with a 73 for a 151.

But they all lay too far behind to contend for the top P120,000 prize in the 54-hole tournament sponsored by ICTSI, virtually leaving the fight for Uy, Bisera and Ababa in what looms to be not just a duel of shotmaking and putting but also nerves and stamina.

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