Constantino shines in pro debut

    CHAMP: Harmie Constantino displays her prize in her successful pro debut.

    GEN. TRIAS. — Rookie Harmie Constantino birdied No. 13 for a crucial two-shot swing then matched Princess Superal’s birdie on the 16th to claim the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Challenge crown by two on a closing 73 at the Aoki course here Thursday.

    Constantino blew a two-stroke lead with back-to-back bogeys from No. 11 but recovered her bearing and touch to birdie the par-4 13th, which Superal bogeyed that led to a 74, enabling the former to regain a two-stroke cushion that she used as a springboard to mark her pro debut with a resounding victory.

    “I felt pretty good – starting my first pro tournament with a win,” said Constantino, who nailed a win on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour as an amateur when she fashioned out a nine-stroke triumph at Mt. Malarayat in 2016.

    ‘But I really didn’t expect anything here. I’m here to have fun and enjoy the day,” added the former University of Georgia standout, who pocketed the top purse of P72,000 on a 54-hole total of 215 that included earlier rounds of 73 and 69.

    She hiked her lead to two at the turn despite a 37 marked by three birdies but marred by two bogeys and a double-bogey on No. 8 and dropped to joint lead with those early backside bogeys.

    Superal wound up with a two-over card and a 217 and settled for a second straight runner-up finish after ruling the Riviera Couples leg last November and losing the Pauline del Rosario at Riviera Langer.

    Del Rosario, who pulled to within four after 36 holes, remained in the hunt with frontside 36 but faded with a double-bogey mishap on No. 13 and a bogey on the 16th. She finished with a 75 for third at 221.

    Chanelle Avaricio turned in a 75 for fourth at 228 while Daniella Uy struggled with an 80 for sixth at 230 followed by amateur Laurea Duque (82-235), Marvi Monsalve (81-245), Sunshine Baraquiel (85-247), Cyna Rodriguez (84-247), Gretchen Villacencio (79-247) and Pamela Mariano (83-248).

    Superal put pressure on Constantino with a birdie on the first hole to draw level but reeled back with bogeys on Nos. 5, 7 and 8 on missed hits and missed greens although she forced an all-square match again as Constantino faltered on Nos. 11 and 12.

    But the 2019 LPGT Order of Merit champion uncharacteristically cracked under pressure against her rookie rival, yielding a costly stroke on No. 13. And though she made some late charge with a birdie on the 16, Constantino just shook off the threat and matched that feat.