Ardina makes return trip to WWGA final

Dottie Ardina toppled ICTSI teammate and reigning Philippine Ladies Amateur Open champion Cyna Rodrgiuez, 2&1, in the quarterfinals then checked her skid in the semis to whisk off Ashley McKenney of Arizona, 2-up, and reach the finals of the WWGA (Women’s Western Golf Association) National Amateur Championship in Rochester, Minnesota Friday.
It will be Ardina’s second straight crack at the crown after falling short last year when she lost to Taylore Karle, also of Arizona, 2&1, in the 36-hole finale.
“Dottie has finally regained her form after that so-so-performance in the stroke play elims. She’s hitting the ball well now and playing with confidence,” said ICTSI team coach Bong Lopez. “I just hope her putting will click in the final.”
Stamina will also be a factor in the grueling 36-hole championship with the 16-year-old Ardina hoping to use her experience against Jaclyn Jansen, a junior standout from Baylor University in Illinois, who beat Lauren Weaver, 4&3, in the quarters, then subdued Iowa-based Thai Pumpaka Phuntumabamrung, 2&1, to get a shot at the crown.
Phuntumabamrung foiled the other RP bet Mia Piccio, 5&4, in the quarters in the upper half of the draw. But Ardina, playing out of The Pendleton University in Florida, is all pumped up for the championship, putting together a series of solid rounds after finishing way down in 20th place in the 36-hole qualifiers.
Against Rodriguez, the No. 2 seed, Ardina held her ground and pulled through with clutch pars at the backside of the Rochester Golf and Country Club course to get back at her RP Ladies Open tormentor.
She built a five-hole cushion against McKenney after 11 holes in the afternoon semis but lost her putting touch, enabling the Tulane University junior student to close within one after
No. 17.
But Ardina recovered in time, closing out with a routine par as McKenney stumbled with a bogey in her desperate bid for a birdie, sending the ace Filipina shotmaker to the finals of the annual event featuring some of the world’s leading junior players.
The event also serves as Ardina’s final tuneup for next month’s US Girls Amateur Championship in North Carolina.(pr)
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