On January 3 to 5 at Calamba, Laguna, Philippines – The amateur Yuka Saso opened 2018 season with a victory by top over Thai crowd with double stroke away. 9 from our nation were dominant in top 15.
‘Yuka Saso opened the new Ladies Philippine Golf Tour season with a bang, banging in clutch birdies to foil Thai Ploychompoo Wilairungrueng’s early charge and late rally as the top amateur claimed a two-stroke victory on a closing two-under 70 in the ICTSI Ayala Greenfield Ladies Challenge here yesterday.
Saso watched her huge five-shot lead reduce to a couple of strokes after five holes as Wilairungrueng sizzled with three birdies in ideal condition but pulled away again on a two-shot swing (birdie-bogey) on No. 7. She then matched her rival’s birdie on the par-3 16th that all but completed her impressive romp in the kickoff leg of this season Ladies Philippine Golf Tour sponsored by ICTSI.
That she did it in wire-to-wire fashion spoke well of the caliber of the player who was knocked off the national team and barred from defending her national crown this year, shifting her focus instead on the P750,000 championship which drew the cream of the country’s pro crop and a slew of Thai seasoned campaigners.[…]
The victory likewise ended the Thais’ domination of the country’s premier circuit after Renuka Suksukont and Yupaporn Kawinpakorn reigned at the Phl Ladies Masters and South Forbes Invitational last month.
Five strokes behind Saso with del Rosario at the start of the final round, Wilairungrueng birdied the first two holes against Saso’s birdie on No. 2 and threatened to within two with a birdie on No. 5 which Saso bogeyed. But the Fil-Japanese shotmaker quickly recovered the two strokes on a similar two-shot swing on the seventh then held sway at the back with pars and that decisive birdie.
The 21-year-old ace from Chiang Rai, winner of a leg in the Taiwan LPGA last year, made one last charge with a third straight birdie on No. 13 but failed to rattle off her young rival, who drilled in a six-foot birdie putt on No. 16 that all but shattered Wirairungreung’s hopes for a comeback. She also birdied the 16th then holed out with another birdie for a 67 and a 211.
“The fairways were very narrow and the greens were hard to read,” rued Wilairungrueng, who, however, took the top purse of P150,000 with Saso claiming two trophies, including the low amateur, in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.[…]
Chonlada Chayanun, also of Thailand, fired a 70 and placed fourth at 218 while compatriots Punpaka Phuntumabamrung and Saraporn Chamchoi took the next two spots with 73-219 and 72-221, respectively.
Chihiro Ikeda, winner at Forest Hills last year, matched par 72 to finish seventh at 223 while first round joint leader Thanuttra Boonraksasat carded a 74 for eighth at 224 followed by Pakpring Duangchan (71), Cyna Rodriguez (71) and Aunchisa Utama (74), who tied for ninth at 225.
Wannarisi Sirisampant turned in a 73 for 11th at 227, Dottie Ardina skied to a 76-228, Princess Superal hobbled with a 75-229, and Marvi Monsalve and Saruttaya Ngam-usawan pooled similar 232s after a 76 and 78, respectively, to complete the 15 players who made the cut in the 54-hole championship backed by backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.’