Mafy Singson came out better than the rest in a faltering finish at the tough Langer course, posting a one-over 72 for a one-stroke lead over Rianne Malixi in an early show of force by the amateurs in the ICTSI Riviera Championship in Silang, Cavite on Tuesday.
Malixi appeared headed for another fine start with a steady one-birdie, one-bogey card after 16 holes but the runaway winner at Valley bogeyed the last two holes at dusk for a 73, enabling Singson, who blew an even par card with a bogey on the 17th two flights ahead, to move in front.
“Langer is a tough course so I just try to play steady, hit the fairways and greens,” said Singson, gunning for a second pro crown after winning the Splendido Taal leg last May. “I had a few clumsy bogeys but then again you can’t really avoid them (bogeys) in this kind of course.”
Truly, even the men of the tour had a tough time dealing with the daunting layout on their side of the battle early on and like in the Philippine Golf Tour race. the chase for top honors in the 54-hole Ladies PGT also headed for a wild, wide-open finish.
Apple Fudolin also headed for a big first round surprise by matching Malixi’s even par card after 15 holes on back-to-back birdie feats from No. 10 after an opening 37. But she dropped three strokes on the par-5 16th and slipped to a share of third with Chihiro Ikeda at 74.
Ikeda, seeking a third championship after topping the Mount Malarayat and Eagle Ridge-Aoki, battled back from a four-over 39 start and another bogey on No. 11 with two birdies in the last five holes to pull to within two shots of Singson.
Sarah Ababa reeled with a triple bogey seven on the challenging No. 11 and wound up with a birdie-less 75 for a share of fifth with last year’s Highlands winner Sunshine Baraquiel, who blew a one-under card after 10 holes with three bogeys and a double bogey in the last seven holes.
Harmie Constantino also groped for form and limped with a 76 to fall to joint seventh with amateurs Laurea Duque and Korean Kim Seoyun.