Golf Tour

Uy grabs 2-shot lead on hot finish

Daniella Uy put up the kind of finish missing in her previous Ladies Philippine Golf Tour campaigns, closing out with back-to-back birdies to break off a three-way tie and wrest a two-stroke lead over Chihiro Ikeda and Marvi Monsalve in the ICTSI Villamor Philippine Masters at the Villamor Golf Club yesterday.

Bucking a shaky stint off the mound all day, Uy banked on her big recovery shots to get going, birdying the tight No. 1 and the par-3 No. 4 then overcoming a couple of mishaps with scrambling pars before gaining strokes on the last two holes.


“I saved a lot of pars, laging stymie ang drive,” said Uy, who had previously squandered a couple of chances for a second LPGT win on late-hole struggles, including in the recent Luisita Championship which she yielded to Harmie Constantino in sudden death after leading by three in one stretch in regulation.

Her strong finish at the start of this week’s 54-hole, P1 million championship, however, should augur well for her drive for a follow-up to her breakthrough win at Riviera-Langer in bubble setup in 2021.

“But I have to hit more fairways and greens tomorrow (today),” said the former Junior World champion, who will be slugging it out with two hungry aces in Day 2 of the fifth leg of this year’s circuit put up by ICTSI.

Ikeda, the reigning Order of Merit champion who has never seriously contended for the championship after four legs, mixed three birdies against the same number of bogeys to match Monsalve’s even-par card in hot conditions.

Monsalve, toughened up by stints in the Thai LPGA, holed out with a birdie on the ninth, her closing hole, to line herself up for a crack at a first LPGT diadem.

“It was a pretty wild round. Actually, I made a lot of bogeys – five,” said Monsalve, who actually sizzled on a backside start with three birdies against a bogey after six holes. But she bogeyed Nos. 16 and 18 and put to naught her fourth birdie on the first hole with back-to-back bogeys from No. 4.

But a last-hole feat saved Monsalve a share of second place with the veteran campaigner vowing to minimize her mistakes in the second round while hoping to draw the breaks off the tee.

“I had a tough time hitting the fairways, had a lot of bad bounces,” she rued.

Korean Kim Seoyun, also due for a big finish after a close brush with the championship at Caliraya Springs, birdied the 18th to rescue a 74 while Constantino, who also claimed the inaugural Match Play crown here last year, hobbled with a four-bogey, one-birdie card on a course she calls home for a 75.
Gretchen Villacencio posted a 76 while Sarah Ababa bogeyed No. 16 and made a double bogey on the next for a 77 as she slipped to joint seventh with Eva Miñoza, while Florence Bisera and Lucy Landicho matched 78s and Pamela Mariano carded a 79.

Korean Lee Jiwon skied to an 83 but still led Mafy Singson, who birdied the last hole for an 84, by one in their duel for low amateur honors.

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