Thai Arpichaya Yubol pounced on Yuka Saso’s backside meltdown and rallied from three down with nine holes left then checked her own collapse at the finish with a closing birdie to nip the Fil-Japanese amateur by one with a 71 for the ICTSI Manila Golf Ladies Classic crown at the Manila Golf Club yesterday.
Yubol cashed in on Saso’s four-birdie stumble in a five-hole stretch from No. 12 to grab the lead then recovered from a bogey on the 17th with a clutch putt from 10 feet to clinch the crown as Saso cracked under pressure and fell short of her playoff bid from eight feet on the 18th for a 72.
It was a stirring triumph for Yubol, who tied Saso with a 68 after 36 holes but never got discouraged even after the reigning Asian Games gold medalist threatened to blow up the field with a solid three-under card after 10 holes to lead by three.
Taiwanese amateur Tzu-Yi Chang, actually the surprise second round leader, reeled back with back-to-back bogeys from No. 2 but wheeled back into contention after Saso floundered, only to fade with bogeys in the last two holes for a 75.
“I’m very happy but it’s quite surprising (to win). I really didn’t expect to win since this is my first time here and I’m not familiar with the course,” said Yubol, who pooled a four-under 209 total in the 54-hole championship co-sanctioned by the LPGA of Taiwan and Ladies Philippine Golf Tour and pocketed the top $17,500 prize out of the total pot of $100,000 put up by ICTSI.