SILANG, Cavite – Jayvie Agojo came charging back in the last nine holes and shot a three-under 69 then pounced on Chihiro Ikeda’s wobbly finish to seize a one-stroke lead at the start of the P500,000 ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour at Riviera’s Couples layout here, Wednesday.
Agojo gunned down five birdies at the back to negate a three-putt miscue on No. 17 and a shaky 37 start then watched Ikeda blow a sizzling five-under 31 opening with a closing 39 and a 70 to grab the lead in the 54-hole tournament serving as the second leg of the ICTSI Philippine Ladies Golf Tour.
“I was too tight despite an opening birdie,” said Agojo, who launched her bid with a six-foot birdie putt on No. 1, only to reel back with back-to-back bogeys from No. 5.
But the former Philippine Ladies Open champion seeking a breakthrough on the country’s first-ever ladies pro tour sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. struck back at the back, stringing three straight birdies from No. 11 then sandwiched a bogey on the 17th with birdies, including a brilliant blind bunker shot from 80 yards that landed within five feet.
“I settled down at the back,” said Agojo, who also credited caddie and former pro Tonton Asistio for her fine start in the event backed by Nike, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp. “Our yardages were very okay, all my birdies were inside six feet.”
While Agojo leaned on a strong finish to wrest control, Ikeda squandered a solid start with a faltering windup to yield the lead. But the former SEA Games champion remained confident of her title chances with still 36 holes left in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“I was also surprised by my fiery start, four straight birdies and five in the first seven holes,” said Ikeda, who preserved a solid frontside 31 stint with a save par on No. 5.
But she failed to sustain her charge at the back, pushing her drive on the par-5 No. 11 and playing out to a stymied lie to end up with a double-bogey. She flubbed a two-foot birdie putt on the 12th then bogeyed the 17th for that 39.
Lovelynn Guioguio joined the fancied duo in today’s featured flight after the former national team mainstay put herself in early contention with a gutsy one-under 71 spiked by a closing 34.
Sarah Ababa matched par 72 while Korean amateur Hwang Min Jeong stayed in the hunt with a 73 followed by Anya Tanpinco, who carded a 74, and Korean pro Kwon Seo Yon, who turned in a 76.
Lina de Guzman struggled with a 79, Apple Fudolin skied to an 80 while amateur Ashia Nocum joined pros Jan Punzalan, Tracy Que, Mary Grace Estuesta and Reb Bareng at 81.(pr)