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Mikha Fortuna scores LPGT breakthrough


Mikha Fortuna concluded a four-day display of brilliant shotmaking and putting with a decisive performance, overpowering amateur Laurea Duque, 7&5, to secure her first professional win in the ICTSI The Country Club Match Play Invitational at the TCC course in Sta. Rosa, Laguna on Friday.

Despite the wet conditions, Fortuna showcased consistent play from tee to green, winning three holes from No. 5 to dominate their frontside battle. She maintained her momentum even after the rain had subsided, claiming the first three holes at the back en route to a victory that highlighted a series of dominant wins.

Duque, who had bested three pros, including Florence Bisera, Apple Fudolin, and Gretchen Villacencio, to earn a shot at the championship, found herself unable to gain any ground against Fortuna’s superb all-around game during their abbreviated match.

“It’s so special, this being my first pro win,” said Fortuna. “I just feel happy; I don’t know how to put into words what I’m feeling right now.”

This week also marked a significant achievement for the 23-year-old Fortuna, whose victory worth P280,000 helped erase the memory of at least three previous unsuccessful attempts in the regular Ladies Philippine Golf Tour on final-round setbacks.

“I think I had three attempts being in contention and finally I got it,” said Fortuna, who stuck to her game plan and stayed focused all week.

2023-ICTSI-The-Country-Club-Match-Play-Invitational-Mikha-Fortuna-1 Mikha Fortuna scores LPGT breakthrough Golf lpgt News  - philippine sports news

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“Heading to the finals, knowing I was going to play with Laurea, I just really focused on my game. I knew she can play; she was hitting good. But I just told myself to give more birdie opportunities for me; I think that was the key,” said Fortuna, who drained five birdies in annexing her title romp.

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As the last-ranked player in a field of 16, her noteworthy 5&3 triumph over the top-seeded and last year’s winner Harmie Constantino hinted at the potential for a breakthrough week for the Univ. of Oklahoma product. And she did it in dominant fashion, rolling past Korean Seoyun Kim, 5&4, in the quarterfinals then blasting Chihiro Ikeda, 4&3, to roll into the finals of the P1.5 championship, which served as the season-ending tournament after the 10-leg LPGT season.

“It’s match play and anything can happen. So I just stayed focused and I’m proud of myself,” added Fortuna.

Despite initial nerves induced by rainy conditions, she exhibited resilience, regaining her confidence over time.

“When it rained, I was pretty nervous, but I told myself that ‘I can’t control the weather.’ I had an ‘it is what it is mindset,’” said Fortuna. “This is the condition, and I got to play with it. But I needed to focus on one shot at a time. It pretty worked, and I’m proud of myself about that.”

While the title duel concluded in one-sided fashion, the battle for third extended to the 18th hole where Ikeda narrowly edged Villacencio, matching the latter’s birdie on No. 17 to preserve a 1-up lead and birdying the last for a 2-up victory.

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