Ardina outduels Ikeda in thrilling finish, wins by 1 pt

Dottie Ardina rolled in a tough birdie putt from 18 feet on
the final hole to nip SEA Games gold medalist Chihiro Ikeda by one point and
capture her first Southern Ladies golf tournament crown on a closing 49-point
output at the Iloilo Golf and Country Club in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo, Feb.6.

Ardina blew her overnight
two-point lead as she lost her touch but came through with two clutch putts to
overcome a two-point deficit in the last three holes, including a delicate
three-foot putt for birdie on No. 16, and that title-clinching birdie on the 54th hole to clinch the overall championship.

The 18-year-old Ikeda,
who yielded the lead with a bogey on No. 16 and a double bogey on the 17th,
looked headed for a playoff when she birdied the 18th from close
range. But Ardina, who scored 52 and 51 in the first two rounds, dashed her ICTSI teammate’s hopes by sinking that long birdie
putt to cap her title feat with 152 Molave points.

Ikeda closed out with
50 points for a 151 as she settled for top honors in the Championship division
of the 47th staging of the event organized and conducted by the
National Golf Association of the Phils. Former champion Anya Tanpinco had a 147
after a 46 for second while Daniella Uy also made a 46 for a 142.

Andie Unson turned in
a 138 after a 46 while Shery Villecencio completed the ICTSI bets’ domination
with 39 points for joint sixth at 134 with Del Monte’s Lovelyn Guioguio (45)
and Sarah Ababa (47) in the tournament sponsored by the Philippine Sports
Commission, WWWExpress-DHL Worldwide Express, Hans Brumann Jeweler, DPC Yellow Pages, Karat World
and Sarabia ManorHotel.

“I was just trying to
put it closer to the hole for par but it went straight in,” said the
16-year-old Ardina, who finished the topsy-turvy final round with three birdies
against four bogeys and two double-bogeys for a five-over 77 in stroke play.

Ikeda had a four-over
76 on two birdies against three bogeys and a costly double-bogey on No. 17,
where she took a penalty after punching a 7-iron from a stymied
lie into an unplayable lie.

“I just stayed focused
and tried to withstand the pressure,” said Ardina, who held on to a two-point
lead after nine holes but fell behind with a double-bogey on No. 10 and a bogey
on the next.

It
was an inspiring victory for the US-based Ardina, who teamed up with Ikeda and
Mia Piccio in bagging the team gold medal in the recent SEA Games in Laos with
Ikeda taking the individual gold with a playoff victory over Thai chief rival
Yupaporn Kawinpakorn.

The
win also came four days before the WWWExpress-DHL Amateur Open Championships
beginning Wednesday in Canlubang where Ardina is expected to slug it out again
with Ikeda and the rest of the ICTSI golf squad.

Gie Bote of Tagaytay
Highlands cruised to a three-point win in Class A with 97 points after a 31,
beating Iloilo’s Choi Me Ae (33-94) and Aguinaldo’s Mencie Millonado (30-94).

Iloilo’s Hwang Hye Young
took the Class B plum with a closing 30 worth 87 points, 10 clear off Mabek
Kawsek of Tagaytay (21-77) while Iloilo’s Leny Licera finished third with 76
points after a 24.

Helen Stummer, also of
Iloilo, snatched a one-point victory in Class C with a 72 after a 29, nipping
Aguinaldo’s Leni Cabili (24-71) and Rowena Royena of Malarayat (19-69) while Nitz
Goto, also of Iloilo, scored a two-point victory in Class D with 24 points for
a 73. Malarayat’s Surlianti Walker made a 21 for a 71 while Cho Kyu In of
Malarayat placed third with 60 points after a 19.

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