GEN. TRIAS, Cavite – Mafy Singson outshot Laurea Duque in a fierce duel, coming away with a two-under 70 as the amateurs upstaged the pros in the opener of the ICTSI Aoki Classic at Eagle Ridge here yesterday.
Singson broke a two-birdie, two-bogey round with birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 then watched flightmate Duque stumble with a bogey-birdie-bogey card from No. 15 to move from one-down to two-up after 18 holes of the event marking the restart of the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour after a three-month hiatus.
“I played pretty well. It was windy and just tried to hit it in the middle,” said Singson, who birdied Nos. 7 and 12 to negate her mishaps on Nos. 11 and 13.
Duque, the low amateur at Eagle Ridge-Aoki ruled by Harmie Constantino last March, bucked a bogey-bogey start with three birdies in an eight-hole stretch from No. 6 to wrest control by one over Singson after 14 holes. But her wobbly finish enabled her fellow Manila Southwoods team member to take command in the early going of the 54-hole championship put up by ICTSI.
Still, she said she was more than satisfied with her performance given the tough playing conditions.
While two of the five amateurs in the fold put up an impressive start in hot conditions, the pros struggled coming off a long break with Constantino barely surviving a day-long struggle in sweltering heat, hitting four birdies but fumbling with five bogeys to settle for third with a 73.
The former national champion, who humbled Princess Superal by two to mark her pro debut with a victory here, missed joining Duque at second with a bogey on the par-3 No. 17 while Marvi Monsalve birdied the 16th to card a 74 for fourth, just four strokes off the leader in one of her best starts in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Monsalve, on the other hand, said she was happy to finish with a 74 in blustery conditions then vowed to put more emphasis on putting to fuel her title drive.
Chihiro Ikeda stayed up-close with a three-birdie, three-bogey frontside card but the multi-titled campaigner, still winless in the extended pandemic-hit season of the country’s premier ladies circuit, limped with two bogeys and a double bogey with no birdie to show in the last nine holes. She signed a 76 and dropped to fifth.
Sunshine Baraquiel eagled the par-5 No. 6 but failed to hit any birdie the rest of the way, her slew of miscues – five bogeys and a double bogey – pulling her down to joint sixth with amateur Burberry Zhang at 77, nine strokes behind Singson.
Zhang, winner of the low amateur honors at Sherwood Hills last July, took charge early with birdies on Nos. 1 and 3 but reeled back with five bogeys and a triple bogey on No. 13 then birdied the 16th to tie Baraquiel.