Thai rookie cruises to 7-shot Malarayat romp

MANILA, Philippines — Onkanok Soisuwan nailed her breakthrough win on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour in style, outclassing the local top guns and a slew of fellow Thai aces with a seven-stroke victory in the ICTSI Mount Malarayat Ladies Classic at Mt. Malarayat composite course in Lipa City, Batangas yesterday.

With a huge overnight six-stroke lead, Soisuwan hardly found a challenge in the final 18 holes of the P1.25 million championship, mixing three birdies against two bogeys in another scorching day to complete a run of under-par cards with a 71 to complete a wire-to-wire triumph in her first pro tournament.

Counting her early 70 and 69, the former top amateur pooled a 210 and beat local amateur Mikha Fortuna and compatriot Tiranan Yoopan by seven. Fortuna matched Soisuwan’s closing 71 to clinch the low amateur trophy while Yoopan settled for another top three finish with a 72 for 217s. Yoopan received P155,000.

“I didn’t expect to win because this is my first tournament as a pro,” said Soisuwan, who anchored Team Southeast Asia’s title romps over the Phl’s best amateurs in the Pradera Ladies Challenge the past two years.

“The first round was really difficult, especially my driver. But I stayed focused and kept my composure. I also had some trouble with my irons today but I still got it,” added Soisuwan, who banked P300,000 for her maiden feat.

Cyna Rodriguez, who trailed Soisuwan after 36 holes, failed to get going with a double-bogey start and a bogey on the par-5 No. 9 although she made two birdies at the back to finish with a 74 for fourth at 218.