Ardina storms to five-shot lead

Dottie Ardina turned a three-stroke deficit off Lovelynn Guioguio into a whopping five-shot lead over Chihiro Ikeda as she shot a brilliant six-under 66 to move closer to a second straight championship on the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour at Cangolf’s North course in Laguna yesterday.

Ardina outgunned Ikeda in a thrilling day-long shootout between two former ICTSI teammates in the amateurs, finishing with a bogey-free 32-34 card sparked by a scrambling par from 10 feet on the first hole and a 20-foot birdie putt on the next.

She pooled a five-under 139 after 36 holes and took a big five-shot cushion over Ikeda heading to today’s final round of the 54-hole championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI).

“By this time, I’m already used to pressure. So with a five-shot lead, I think I have a very good chance,” said Ardina when asked of her chances of completing back-to-back victories after coming from behind to nip amateur Princess Superal with a flawless final round 65 in the circuit’s inaugural leg at The Country Club last month.

Ikeda, four behind Ardina at the start of the round, actually outshot Ardina in the early going with an eagle and a birdie on Nos. 2 and 3 and went five-under with two more birdies on Nos. 5 and 7. But the former SEA Games gold medalist wavered with bogeys on Nos. 9 and 10 and needed to birdie three of the last five holes to turn in a 67.

But her 144 aggregate was way behind Ardina, who hopes to flaunt the same form in today’s final round to annex another crown and pocket another P100,000 in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Touraments Inc. and backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Gatorade, Sharp and Custom Clubmakers.

“If I could do what I did today —ball striking and putting—bingo na,” said Ardina, who rammed in the five other birdies inside eight feet.

Jayvie Agojo will complete a stellar championship flight although the former Philippine Ladies Amateur Open champion stood eight strokes off Ardina at 147 after a 73, marred by a disastrous triple-bogey 7 on the final hole.

Tied with Ikeda with a two-under card heading to the par-4 18th, Agojo opted to hit her second shot in the hazard instead of taking a drop and a penalty, mishit it and reached the green in five, needing to sink a 10-footer for a 7.

Superal also totaled a 147 after a 74 while Guioguio failed to sustain her fine 70 start with an awful 78, dropping her to joint fifth at 148 with Anya Tanpinco, who fought back from an opening 78 with a 70.

Amateur Harmie Constantino also rallied with a 73 for a 150 while Apple Fudolin carded a 75 for a 152 and amateur Sofia Chabon matched par 72 to tie Lucy Landicho, shooting a 74, and fellow amateur and ICTSI teammate Pauline del Rosario, turning in a 75, at 153.

With Guioguio fumbling with three bogeys in the first seven holes, Ardina took charge with her third birdie on No. 8 then whisked off a charging Ikeda with another birdie on the ninth, which Ikeda bogeyed, for a 32 and a five-shot lead.

She kept that margin intact with clutch par putts and another pair of birdies on Nos. 14 and 16 with Ikeda gunning down back-to-back birdies from No. 14 and sinking another birdie from long range on the 17th for a 33-34 card.

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