Pauline del Rosario turned in her worst round in three days – a 71 that still netted the former Ladies Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit champion a whopping 14-stroke victory over Daniella Uy in the ICTSI Royal Northwoods Ladies Classic in San Rafael, Bulacan last Friday.
Though she fell short in matching Princess Superal’s record 16-shot victory at Tagaytay Highlands last year, the lopsided triumph was enough to herald Del Rosario’s return to the top of the LPGT ladder after a string of mediocre finishes following a swing change in her buildup for the LPGA Tour Q-School this August.
Virtually securing her first victory since racking up four wins in a dominant rookie season in 2017 with 66-67 after 36 holes at the Royal Northwoods Golf Club, Inc., Del Rosario just went through the motions in the last 18 holes, gunning down three birdies against two bogeys as she checked on her swing, short game and putting more than checking on her rivals.
She finished with a 12-under 204 and pocketed the top purse of P350,000 out of the total prize pot of P1.5 million in the 54-hole championship, which served as the eighth leg of a record 13-stage circuit put up by ICTSI.
“I just made sure there would be no repeat of a Thai victory this time,” said Del Rosario, referring to Thanuttra Boonraksasat’s come-from-behind win over Superal in the sixth leg at Manila Southwoods last month where she wound up joint 10th.
The Filipina ace also groped for form and settled for a share of seventh at the Manila Golf Ladies Masters two weeks ago but finally found her range, rhythm and touch with brilliant six-under and five-under cards in the first two rounds at Northwoods.
She said needs to toughen up for the Tagaytay Midlands Challenge next month before the former Philippine Ladies Amateur Open championship heads back to the US to resume her training for the LPGA elims under swing coach Patrick Leahy.
Uy, meanwhile, sustained a bogey-free 70 Thursday with three birdies in the first seven holes but the former Junior World titlist wavered at the finish, bogeying four of the last 10 to finish with a 73 although she still claimed runner-up honors with a 218 worth P185,000 in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Boonraksasat, on the other hand, failed to keep the momentum of her three-birdie backside binge in the second round for a 69 as she sputtered with three bogeys and a double-bogey in a birdie-less 77. She ended up third at 219.
Eagle Ace Superal took the top amateur honors with a 220 after matching par 72 for the second time in three days while multi-titled Chihiro Ikeda carded a 74 to tie Thai Numa Gulyanamitta, who hobbled with a 78, at fifth at 226.
Marvi Monsalve shot a 74 to place seventh at 228 followed by Taiwanese Chang Hsuan-Ping (77-229), Thai Tiranan Yoopan (77-230) and amateur Samantha Dizon (78-233) in the eventbacked by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Empire Golf and Sports and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc,
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