LIPA, Batangas, Philippines – Cyna Rodriguez proved again she’s a cut above the rest, turning the final round of the P500,000 ICTSI Mt. Malarayat Ladies Classic into a victory walk as she ran away with a 10-shot victory over Amolkan Phalajivin of Thailand with an eagle-spiked 66 at Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club’s here yesterday.
The win was one off her 11-stroke romp over Phalajivin at John Hay last month but Rodriguez, after an early scare from the Thai ace, virtually wrapped up her third crown in four tournaments after nine holes when she fired a bogey-free three-under 33 and led by five over Phalajivin and Jayvie Agojo.
It was cruise control from there as Rodriguez came through with routine pars in the first four holes and pulled away as Phalajivin and Agojo instead made bogeys while trying to chase birdies. Rodriguez did stumble with a bogey on the tough par-5 14th but blitzed the next two holes with birdies then gunned down an eagle from 30 feet out on the 17th to cap her domination of the 54-hole tournament sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
“Amy (Amolkan) was smoking at the start. I knew it and realized I had to match her intensity. Then I played my game and was able to knock down birdies,” said Rodriguez, who finished with a nine-under 207 and pocketed another P100,000 that firmed up her bid for back-to-back Order of Merit crown on the ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf Tour organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
The former Philippine Ladies Open champion, who edged Agojo for the OOM title in last year’s inaugurals of the country’s first-ever ladies pro circuit backed by Nike, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp, also won the kickoff leg of this year’s tour at Orchard last April, beating Agojo by five and then routed the field at John Hay. She didn’t see action at Riviera won by Agojo.
Phalajivin birdied two of the first three holes but failed to sustain her frontside 33 as she bogeyed two of the last three for a 71, finishing second for the second straight time but way behind at 217 worth P70,000.
“I was holing in putts from almost every distance. But I lipped out one on No. 8. I tried my best to catch up but Cyna was too far away already,” said Phalajivin.
Agojo fumbled with two double bogeys at the back and skied to a 76 for a 220 for joint third with Chihiro Ikeda, who led in the first round with a 71, but hardly recovered from a second round 76 with a 73.
Korean Kwon Seo Yon placed fifth at 224 after a 76 followed by Lovelynn Guioguio (74-225), Anya Tanpinco (71-226) and Sarah Ababa (78-228).
Angela de Villa, on vacation from Gonzaga University in the US, took the low amateur honors with a 229 after a 78 while Eva Minoza and Apple Fudolin finished tied for 10th at 234 after a pair of 76s.
Five off Rodriguez at the start of the final round, Phalajivin closed to within three with birdies on Nos. 1 and 3 but Rodriguez shook off the threat, matching the Thai’s third birdie on No. 4 before going five-up again with birdies on Nos. 6 and 9.
Phalajivin hit two more birdies on Nos. 6 and 7 but bogeyed Nos. 5 and 8 to match Rodriguez’s frontside 33.
Three down after 36 holes, Agojo failed to get any closer with just one birdie to show in a frontside 35. Running out of holes, Agojo went for broke at the back and ended up heartbroken again, making three bogeys with a birdie to show for a . After an impressive 33, Phalajivin also made two bogeys against a birdie for closing 37.