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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Blazing finish puts Singson on brink of pro breakthrough

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DAVAO—Mafy Singson moved a step closer to clinching her maiden professional victory at home, unleashing a stunning finish to salvage a 72 and wrest a two-stroke lead over Sarah Ababa after two rounds of the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour Apo Golf Classic here Wednesday.

Unable to check her skid in breezy conditions at the Apo course, Singson turned a four-over card after 12 holes with a late burst of four birdies, spiked by a three-string feat from No. 13 that propelled her to the top at 145.

“This is my home course, so obviously I want to do well,” said Singson. “But then it’s also the home course of a few other players, so I have to keep that in mind as well.”

With just 18 holes separating her from a dream championship, the seasoned national team player underscored the need for patience and a solid performance in the final round.

“I need a lot of patience and hope to play well,” she said.

Singson is no stranger to success on the LPGT, having secured titles at Splendido Taal in 2022 and at Valley Golf last year while playing as an amateur.

She bogeyed No. 2, flubbed a tricky birdie-putt from short range on the next, bogeyed Nos. 5, 9 and 12 for the second straight time.

But she dominated the par-5 No. 13, also for the second consecutive day, and birdied the next two, both side-hillers, before gaining another stroke on the par-3 17th to complete her fiery windup for a 39-33.

Sharing her game plan for the final round, Singson said: “Fairways and greens and hope the putts will drop.”

Ababa dropped to second with a 75 for a 147. The local ace appeared headed to retaining the lead she yielded to a hot-starting Mikha Fortuna with a birdie on No. 13 but failed to match Singson’s hot finish.

Fortuna, who won the season-ending Match Play Invitational at The Country Club last November, drove past Ababa with a birdie on the first hole and stayed ahead with a frontside 37.

But the Oklahoma U product wavered with four bogeys in the first seven holes at the back and fell behind. She matched Singson’s birdie on the 17th to finish with a 76 for third at 149.

Multi-titled Chanelle Avaricio remained at fourth despite a birdie-less 78 but stood way behind Singson at 153 while Rev Alcantara matched par-72 to tie Harmie Constantino, who faltered with a 79, at fifth at 155.

After a first-round 83, Alcantara mounted her comeback with birdies on Nos. 16, 17 and 3, but she struggled at the finish, bogeying Nos. 4, 6 and 8 for a 38-34.

Miya Legaspi pooled a 156 after a 78, Laurea Duque also submitted a six-over card for a 157, and rookie pro Lois Kaye Go made a 78 for joint ninth at 159 with reigning Order of Merit winner Daniella Uy, who continued to struggle with an 82 after a 77.

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