Ardina edges Superal, cops LPGT crown

Dottie Ardina outgunned former amateur teammates Princess Superal and Cyna Rodriguez in a thrilling backside shootout to close out with a fiery 31 and a bogey-free seven-under 65, nipping Superal by one to claim the inaugural ICTSI Philippine Ladies Tour crown at The Country Club in Canlubang, recently.

Ardina bucked the wind and went on a birdie-binge at the back, hitting three straight from No. 12 to seize a one-stroke edge over Superal then rolled in a pressure-packed birdie putt from 20 feet to match her rival’s stirring birdie feat from 25 feet and preserve her lead.

She made a routine par on the 18th then watched Superal flub a playoff-clinching birdie putt from eight feet to complete her come-from-behind victory in the 54-hole championship which kicked off the first-ever Phl ladies pro circuit sponsored by ICTSI.

The win, worth P100,000, likewise marked Ardina’s pro debut with the former Junior World champion and winner of a number of local and international titles finishing with a nine-under 207.

“It was sort of a perfect finish – solid driving and steady putting,” said Ardina. “But I still needed to come up with that long birdie putt on the 17th to keep my lead as Princess also played a superb game.”

Ardina’s victory also saved the day – and the tournament – for the pros as the amateurs took the next three spots and six of the top 10 with Superal, now the spearhead of the ICTSI ladies amateur team, firing a 66 for runner-up honors at 208.

“I saw the line of my putt on the 18th and I just wanted my ball to go through that line. But I came up short with my allowance,” said Superal.

Two-day leader Rodriguez faded in their backside duel and ended up with a 70 and dropped to solo third with a 211 while Miya Legaspi struggled with a 73 and wound up solo fourth at 215 in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by Gatorade, Sharp and Custom Clubmakers.

Jayvie Agojo, who also turned pro in this tournament, rallied at the back with a 34 for a 70 and finished fifth while amateurs Pauline del Rosario and Sam Bruce shot 70 and 71, respectively, to tie Lovelynn Guioguio, who carded a 74, at sixth at 221.

Anya Tanpinco turned in a 76 for ninth at 227 while Sofia Chabon, another amateur from the ICTSI stable, also sputtered with a 76 for 10th at 229.

Former Phl Ladies Open champions Heidi Chua and Mary Grace Estuesta wound up 18th and 23rd, respectively, with the former shooting a 77-237 and the latter carding an 85-244.

Ardina actually trailed Superal and Rodriguez by one at the turn but after matching Superal’s birdie on the 10th, she strung up three straight birdies from No. 12 inside five feet to surge past her rivals.

But Superal stayed within one with a birdie on the 14th then rolled in a long birdie putt on the 17th that failed to shake off Ardina, who knocked down her own birdie putt to stay a shot clear of the field.(pr)

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