Superal leads; Del Rosario falters

    FINE START: Superal makes do without a caddy.

    PRINCESS Superal fought back strong from an early miscue then pounced on Pauline del Rosario’s last-hole misfortune to turn one-stroke deficit into a one-shot lead with a 69 at the start of the ICTSI Riviera Championship at the Langer course in Silang, Cavite yesterday.

    Del Rosario outshone Superal in the featured flight that included Abby Arevalo, gunning down three birdies to storm to a two-stroke lead after 12 holes in cloudy, windy conditions.

    But just when she thought she got the challenging par-71 layout all figured out, she stumbled with a bogey on the 14th, recovered the stroke on the layout’s signature hole, the par-3 17th, but dropped two strokes on the tricky par-4 closing hole.

    She wound up with a 70 (34-36), enabling Superal to wrest control with nines of 34-35 spiked by three birdies in a five-hole stretch from No. 9 which more than made up for her missed-green mishap on the sixth.

    “I actually missed a lot of greens but made some up-and-down pars, especially on a couple of long par-4s,” said Superal, on track for a sweep of the twin Ladies Philippine Golf Tour titles under the new normal after romping off to a five-shot triumph over Arevalo at the adjacent Couples course three weeks ago.

    Expecting a strong fightback from Del Rosario and the rest of the contenders for the top P72,000 purse in the 54-hole championship put up by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., Superal said: “I’ll try to go under again tomorrow (today) and make more birdies.”

    Despite her last hole mishap, Del Rosario said she was more than satisfied with her round but stressed the need to work on her putting in the last two days.

    “I played pretty good although I had some errors with my putting,” said Del Rosario, who marked her rookie campaign in 2017 with four victories on her way to bagging the LPGT Order of Merit crown.