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LPGT: Despite stumble, Daniella Uy pulls away at Villamor

Daniella Uy checked an impending backside slide with a blazing four-birdie splurge in the last eight holes as she saved a 73 and doubled her overnight two-shot lead, this time over arch rival Harmie Constantino heading to the final 18 holes of the ICTSI Villamor Philippine Masters on Thursday.

It was indeed a stirring rebound for the former Junior World champion, who started the round two shots clear of Chihiro Ikeda and Marvi Monsalve but looked headed for an early foldup that has marred her drive for a second crown in two of the first four Ladies Philippine Golf Tour events this year.

Uy’s three bogeys at the front and a double mishap on the par-4 10th led to a crowded leaderboard although Korean Seoyun Kim, Harmie Constantino, Ikeda and Monsalve all failed to really cash in on to dislodge the erstwhile leader.

Instead, Uy struck back with a birdie on No. 11 then built on the momentum to gain clutch strokes on Nos. 13, 14 and 16 for a 39-34.

With a 143 total, Uy found herself ahead by four with Constantino taking the challenger’s role again at 147 after a 72 and Kim staying on course for a breakthrough win with a 148 after a second straight 74.

“I struggled at the front, mahirap ang pin placements,” said Uy. “But I had three long putts for birdies at the back.”

Monsalve, who also fumbled with a frontside 39, likewise made three bogeys in the first six holes at the back but birdied the last hole for a 77 for fourth at 149.

Ikeda kept Uy within sight despite a frontside 39 but fell to fifth with a second 39 marred by three straight mishaps from No. 14, her 78 dropping her seven shots off the leader with a 150.

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Gretchen Villacencio carded a second 76 for a 152 while Sarah Ababa also matched her first round 77 for a 154 followed by Lucy Landicho, who likewise shot a second straight 78 for a 156 even as Mafy Singson fought back from a first round 84 with a 73 to seize solo eighth at 157 and boost her bid for another low amateur honors in the 54-hole championship put up by ICTSI.

Kim actually accidentally slipped at the hotel and played with a bandaged knee all day, catching Uy at the helm with a best frontside 35 on two birdies against a bogey. But she yielded strokes on the first two holes at the back and settled for six straight pars before holing out with another miscue for a second straight two-over par round.

Four-up and all-pumped up, Uy hopes to finally secure the win with a gutsy final round performance as she bids to erase the stigma of her sudden death loss to Constantino at Luisita two weeks ago that had the latter battling back from six shots down and outlasting the former in a playoff.

Constantino, meanwhile, stressed the need to work on her irons and come up with better placing off the tee as she seeks a second straight LPGT win and remain queen at Villamor after foiling top amateur Rianne Malixi in the inaugural ICTSI Match Play Invitational last November.

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