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LPGT: Mafy Singson upends pros, claims Splendido crown

Foiled in her crack at a pro crown at least four times, amateur Mafy Singson finally nailed the elusive win, holding off Sunshine Baraquiel, Chanelle Avaricio, and Harmie Constantino to snare the ICTSI Splendido Taal Championship by one on a 71 in hot conditions in Laurel, Batangas, Thursday.

Not even a bogey-bogey skid from No. 14 could stymie the rising Davaoeña star’s stab at the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour glory as erstwhile leader Baraquiel faded with double bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14 and blew a two-stroke lead and Avaricio and Constantino fell short of their playoff bids with pars on the last two holes.

“I didn’t really expect to win. I want to catch up with them (pros) and it was really a close fight, especially at the back,” said Singson, who battled back from two down, went two-up after Baraquiel’s misses, and held sway the rest of the way with gutsy pars to prevail with a 215 total.

“I just tried to keep (my lead) and tried to make birdies but they didn’t drop,” added the ICTSI-backed shotmaker, who hones his shotmaking skills under swing coach Bong Lopez at the Manila Southwoods.

But those of her rivals’ didn’t drop as well, enabling the member of the team that snatched the bronze in the recent SEA Games in Vietnam to emerge on top after putting herself in title contention in at least four LPGT events last year. But late-hole stumbles kept the 17-year-old shotmaker out of the top podium finish while settling for low amateur honors.

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But with 71 and 72 in the first two rounds of this P750,000 event put up by ICTSI, she stayed in the hunt, and bounced back from a bogey on No. 2 in the final round with birdies on Nos. 3 and 4, fell by one as Baraquiel birdied the 10th but surged ahead as the latter fumbled with her first double bogey coupled with Singson’s birdie on No. 10.

“I learned a lot from them (pros),” said Singson, whose victory augured well for her next campaign in the US Girls’ Junior qualifying and in a number FCG tournaments in the US.

Two behind Baraquiel after 36 holes, Constantino fell farther back with two bogeys in the first three holes but bounced back with three birdies to salvage a 71 and tie Avaricio and Baraquiel, who hobbled with 73 and 74, respectively, at 216.

Recent Mount Malarayat leg winner Chihiro Ikeda matched par 72 for a 222 as she tied for fifth with Pamela Mariano, who carded a third straight 74, while Florence Bisera shot a third 75 in row for a 226.

The victory also netted Singson another low amateur honor that won her an IPad Pro 11 with Constantino, Avaricio, and Baraquiel splitting the combined P204,750 purse.

“I felt I could’ve done better. I hit a lot of greens but missed a lot of putts, too,” said Constantino, winner of two legs in her rookie season last year to bag the Order of Merit title. “I still need to work on my putting.”

Baraquiel also rued the missed chance to claim a second win after topping the Highlands leg last year, saying: “It could’ve gone better. I made a lot of mistakes on the closing holes. But I’m proud how I handled myself after those double bogeys.”

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After failing to make it three-in-row at Mount Malarayat, Hallow Ridge and Caliraya Springs legs champion Avaricio said she was disappointed with her performance this week, particularly on her putting.

“I didn’t finish strong and ended up not too well. I had a lot of missed putts,” she said.

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