Thai wrests con­trol with 69, Pi­nays tum­ble

Sun.Star Davao - - TOPSPORTS -

STA. ROSA, La­guna – China LPGA cam­paigner Renuka Suk­sukont siz­zled in the first four holes then sur­vived a roller­coaster round to seize a one-stroke lead over Tai­wanese Hanna Chen with an ea­gle-spiked 69 as the lo­cal aces fal­tered at the start of the $80,000 ICTSI Philip­pine Ladies Masters at The Coun­try Club here yes­ter­day.

Suk­sukont, who has posted two top three fin­ishes in the CLPGA this sea­son, rat­tled off three straight birdies from No. 2 in be­nign con­di­tion in morn­ing play then bounced back from a bo­gey and a triple-bo­gey mishap in the next two holes with a birdie and an ea­gle on Nos. 7 and 8, re­spec­tively. The 22-year-old Thai ace then hit two more birdies against a bo­gey at the back for a 34-35 card.

A slew of late starters from half of the 99-player field took aim at match­ing or bet­ter­ing Suk­sukont’s three-un­der card but all failed with Tai­wanese Hanna Chen birdy­ing Nos. 11 and 12 to fall by one at 70.

"My aim was to hit the fair­ways and the greens and it’s a good thing my game plan turned out well,” said Suk­sukont, who drained three straight birdies in­side six feet to gain early con­trol.

But she found the Tom Weiskophde­signed lay­out’s sur­face too sleek to han­dle in the next two holes, in­clud­ing the par-3 No. 6 which she missed and three-putted for a 6.

“I just couldn’t con­trol my putt,” rued Suk­sukont, who struck back with a birdie on No. 7 then hacked a solid 6-iron sec­ond shot from 174 yards to within six feet for ea­gle on the eighth.

Ear­lier, Cyna Ro­driguez and ama­teur Yuka Saso looked headed to dom­i­nat­ing the first round ac­tion in the $80,000 event spon­sored by ICTSI af­ter the for­mer gunned down three birdies in the first eight holes and the lat­ter match­ing Renuka’s two-un­der 34 start in the event that drew top play­ers from the China and Tai­wan LPGA Tours and the Ladies Philip­pine Golf Tour.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

LEADER. Thai Renuka Suk­sukont re­acts af­ter sav­ing a par on No. 13.

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