Rodriguez pulls away after a 69
MANILA, Philippines - Cyna Rodriguez went to her short game and putter when her iron game began to sputter, carding a three-under 69 and stretching her lead to four over Mia Piccio in the second round of the ICTSI Wack Wack Ladies Philippine Golf Tour at Wack Wack’s West course yesterday.
Rodriguez hit just nine greens in overcast skies but knocked down five birdies inside 10 feet and rescued four pars on the unpredictable putting surface to produce the lone under-par card of 34-35 and turn a shaky one-stroke lead into a huge four-shot advantage heading to the final round of the 54-hole championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
“I have the lead and that’s good,” said Rodriguez, now four-up on Piccio with a five-under 139 total and 18 holes away from matching Dottie Ardina’s sweep of the first two legs of the inaugural ladies pro circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Piccio, who hit a late birdie to save a 71 and trail Rodriguez by just one after 18 holes, fell by as many as five with a two-over 38 at the turn but fought back with two birdies coming home to salvage a 72 for a 143.
While Rodriguez cashed in on her steady putting, Piccio struggled with hers, three-putting the par-5 No. 4 and flubbing a six-footer for par on the ninth.
Still, the University of Florida product, who hurdled the first stage of the LPGA Q-School last month, remains confident of her chances for a victory on her very first try on the tour backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Gatorade, Sharp and Custom Clubmakers.
“Anything can still happen,” said Piccio, who will be facing Rodriguez for the third straight day in the final group that includes amateur Princess Superal.
Aware of her rival’s threat, Rodriguez stressed the need to stick it out with her game plan and essay another runaway victory the way she did at Eagle Ridge two weeks ago where she beat Jayvie Agojo by eight to mark her pro debut.
“I just have to hit more greens. Today (yesterday) was not as good as I hit only nine greens. But I’m still happy to extend my lead,” said Rodriguez, who birdied Nos. 4, 8, 10, 13 and 18 to negate her bogeys on Nos. 12 and 16.
Superal, coming off a victory in Kuala Lumpur last week, failed to get her game going for the second straight day, making three birdies against four bogeys for a one-over 73 and a 149, 10 shots off Rodriguez.
That virtually reduces the battle for the top P100,000 purse into a two-player affair with Rodriguez enjoying a big lead and the momentum to nail a second straight championship.
Chihiro Ikeda, a pre-tournament favorite, continued to struggle and carded a second straight 75 for a 150 while Agojo bounced back from a 78 with a 73 but remained way behind at 151.
Amateur Felicia Medalla turned in a 76 for a 153 while Del Monte’s Apple Fudolin, Eva Minoza, Lucy Landicho and Barsy Leonen took the next four spots with 81-156, 78-157, 77-158, and 79-159, respectively.