Thai survives Ardina rally, up by two

MANILA, Philippines — Pavarisa Yoktuan matched Dottie Ardina’s early birdie-binge then gunned down an eagle and closed out with a brave run of pars at the back to stretch her lead to two with a second 69 in the ICTSI Splendido Ladies Classic at the Splendido Taal Golf Club yesterday.

The Thai warded off Ardina’s back-to-back birdie start with her own birdies on Nos. 2 and 4 then hit an eagle on the par-5 No. 10 that more than made up for her bogey on the next. She parred the rest for a 34-35 card and a six-under 138 in another hot and windy day at the rolling layout.

The Filipina ace, out to snap a long spell on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, failed to sustain her fiery start with flubbed birdie bids in a couple of holes then settled for one-bogey, one-birdie card at the back for another 70 and a 140.

That sealed a shootout for the top P150,000 purse in today’s final round with the next three players – Thais Thanuttra Boonraksasat and Kanyalak Preedasuttijit and Korean amateur Kim Hee Ji – dropping seven strokes back off Yoktuan with 18 holes left in the P750,000 championship serving as the fourth leg of this year’s circuit sponsored by ICTSI.

Boonraksasat stumbled with a 74 after a 71, Preedasuttijit matched par 72, while Kim hobbled with a 75 for identical 145s.

Another Thai, Chatprapa Siriprakob, carded a second 73 for a 146 while reigning LPGT Order of Merit winner Pauline del Rosario hardly recovered from a 74 with a 73 and lay nine shots off the pace at 147 in a tie with last week’s ICTSI Eagle Ridge winner Chihiro Ikeda, who also shot a 73.

Yupaporn Kawinpakorn, back in the hunt for a third straight LPGT crown after ruling the South Forbes and Beverly Place legs, also barely rebounded from an opening 75 with a 73 for a 148 with Princess Superal also shooting a 73 for a 149.