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Daniella Uy earns maiden LPGT title

SILANG, Cavite—Daniella Uy, who had toiled for a great deal of time just to even earn a crack at a first Ladies Philippine Golf Tour crown, claimed her maiden triumph in easy fashion, beating Chihiro Ikeda by five strokes on a closing 74 in the ICTSI Riviera Ladies Championship here on Friday.

Not even a cluster of bogeys after a birdie-birdie run from No. 3 could stymie Uy’s march to the podium as Ikeda and the rest failed to mount a major challenge, all succumbing to the buffeting wind and tricky greens of Langer, enabling the former Junior World champion to cruise to the trouble-fee victory and finally join the elite group of winners in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

“I’m super happy,” said Uy after holing out with four pars for a 36-38 to end a long quest for a pro diadem worth P116,250. “I was my first win in seven years and I’m looking forward to more (wins).”

With a 220 total at the hazard-laden par-71 layout, Uy clinched the crown in the other half of the two-leg Riviera swing following Chanelle Avaricio’s equally imposing maiden triumph (seven strokes) at the Couples course last week.

Ikeda, three shots behind after 36 holes, tried to put the pressure on Uy with a birdie on the first hole but bogeyed the next two and the latter countered with back-to-back birdies from No. 3 and went up by six, a lead that was never seriously threatened the rest of the way.

Ikeda fumbled with six bogeys and ended up with a 76 but still finished at second for the third straight tournament with a 225 and received P82,500 while Avaricio likewise wound up with a bogey-riddled five-over card to place third with a 227 worth P67,500.

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Harmie Constantino, who had looked forward to scoring her third triumph in her maiden pro season after storming ahead by three with a 70 in the first round, hardly recovered from a disastrous 81 with a 77 as she settled for fourth at 228. The back-to-back Eagle Ridge-Aoki legs winner pocketed P60,000.

Mafy Singson shared the spotlight by completing an incredible comeback to win the low amateur honors for the fourth straight time, carding a second straight 76 for a 237, and frustrating erstwhile frontrunner Arnie Taguines, who skied to a birdie-less 87 marred by four double bogeys and a triple bogey.

Singson placed sixth overall behind Gretchen Villacencio, who shot a 75 for a 235, while Taguines wound up with a 242 total for ninth behind No. 8 and Highlands leg winner Sunshine Baraquiel, who pooled a 239 after a day’s best 72, and seventh placer Marvi Monsalve, who limped with an 84 for 238.

“Though I didn’t play that well this week, I was still grateful that I was able to win the low amateur trophy,” said Singson, who fell by seven behind Taguines with an 85 start and still stood six shots behind with 18 holes left to play.

But she toughened up in the final round, making the turn with a decent one-over 36 while watching Taguines crumble with a 43.

“I could’ve finished better but bogeyed the last three holes,” added Singson, who bested Taguines by five despite her faltering finish.

Uy also stumbled with a number of bogeys (five) after that fine start but made a number of putts to save par and stay clear of her pursuers on her way to realizing a dream finish after finishing tied for second at Highlands three weeks ago.

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“This win will actually give me a lot of confidence for my next tournaments,” said Uy, who will try to close out the LPGT season with another victory in the ICTSI Midlands Ladies Classic slated on Dec. 14-16.

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