Taiwan—Princess Superal bucked howling winds that blew from all over all day yesterday with a gutsy backside charge, shooting a two-under 70 and trailing local amateur Chia Yen Wu by three at the start of the Party Golfers Ladies Open at the National Golf Country Club in Miaoli County here.
Working on 2- to 3-club adjustments in tough conditions, Superal overcame a bogey start with a tap-in birdie on the par-5 third then came through with superb iron play at the back to sink three birdies, including another “gimme” on the closing hole that negated her other missed green miscue on No. 15.
“I actually didn’t expect to go under given the windy conditions and a bad start. But I was able to adjust in time and hit some solid iron shots and made the putts,” said Superal, who birdied the 150-yard par-3 11th from 10 feet off a 5-iron tee shot and tapped in for birdies on Nos. 13 and 18.
Aside from blustery condition at the punishing up-and-down layout, the starting 105-player field also had to deal with the layout’s unpredictable surface where flubbed short putts came aplenty, ruining a number of players’ bids in the $100,000 tournament, the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour’s first co-sanctioned event with the Taiwan LPGA.
Like Superal, back-to-back winner at LPGT Highlands and Riviera last March, Cyna Rodriguez stumbled with back-to-back bogeys to start her title drive in the 54-hole championship also serving as the kickoff leg of LPGT’s 2019 season. But the former three-time LPGT winner and LPGA Tour veteran fought back with two birdies in the next three holes only to fumble with three more bogeys against a birdie in a five-hole stretch from No. 8.
She, however, matched Superal’s closing birdie to salvage a 73 for joint 15th with four others, six strokes behind Wu, who rammed in four straight birdies from No. 13 on her way to shooting a 67 and grabbing a one-stroke lead over Thai Wanchana Poruangrong, who fired an eagle-spiked 68.
Another Thai and former LPGT winner Renuka Suksokont put in a 69 to join current TLPGA Order of Merit leader Chen Yu Ju at third with Taiwanese Yu Pei Lin and Thai Saraporn Langkulgasettrin, also a former LPGT winner, matching Superal’s 70.
While Superal and Rodriguez stayed in early contention, Mia Piccio limped with a 76, her closing 39 marred by a triple-bogey 8 on the par-5 16th off an out-of-bounds drive for joint 48th, just within the top 50 plus ties cutoff line after 36 holes.
Daniella Uy opened with an even par card at the back but struggled at the front and skied to a 41 for a 77 while Marvi Monsalve tottered with a seven-over 79 for a share of 86th.