Young Bruces pace Ladies PGT qualifier

Two young sisters trying to gauge their strength in a ladies tournament found themselves on top of the heap in the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour Qualifier as Samantha Bruce fired a two-under 70 to wrest a one-stroke lead over Nikki at Canlubang’s South course in Laguna yesterday.

Samantha, a 5-foot-9, 12-year-old Grade 7 student at Assumption San Lorenzo, actually fought back from three strokes down with a fiery backside stint to humble the hot-starting Nikki, birdying three of the last five holes for a 33 and a 70.

Nikki, 15 and a sophomore, also at Assumption, earlier threatened to blow away the field with a two-under 34 as she made the turn with back-to-back birdies, even making it a three-birdie binge on the 10th. But she fumbled with a bogey on the par-5 11th and dropped another stroke on the 16th to settle for a 71.

“They are actually competing here to test their strength,” said Bobbet Bruce, father of the power-hitting sisters playing out of Orchard. “At 5-9, Sam has a slight physical advantage which we hope to develop.”

Jan Punzalan strung up two 37s to place third at 74 while club bet Lina de Guzman blew a solid 35 with a faltering finish, bogeying Nos. 12 and 14 then hobbling with a double-bogey, bogey finish for a 41 and a 76.

Del Monte’s Eva Miñoza never recovered from a poor 41 start and limped with a 79 while Marissa Romano of Orchard wilted in scorching heat and stumbled to an 85.

Those scoring 160 or better after 36 holes will gain spots in the inaugural circuit, put up by the sponsoring International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

The Bruces are products of ICTSI inter-school tournaments with Sam, a Junior World and USKG Worlds campaigner, boasting of a 250 yardage off the tee. Both are handled by ICTSI coach Joel Altea and Alex Frias.

Seeded into the ICTSI LPGT proper are former and current lady pros along with the former members of the ICTSI ladies amateur team, headed by Dottie Ardina, Jayvie Agojo and Lovelynn Guioguio.

The first leg of the initial five-stage ICTSI LPGT will start May 15-17 at The Country Club in Laguna. The LPGT membership fee is pegged at P3,000.

The former members of the national team and the ICTSI ladies Each stage will offer a total prize fund of P500,000 with the winner getting P100,000.(pr)

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