LUBAO, Pampanga – Chanelle Avaricio checked an early stumble with a big backside charge but lost her momentum at the finish, bogeying two of the last three holes to hobble with a three-over 75 but still stayed four strokes clear of Chihiro Ikeda in a topsy-turvy second round of the ICTSI Pradera Verde Ladies Classic yesterday.
Avaricio turned from near-flawless to flawed with three bogeys in the first seven holes while fighting off a bout with heartburn, enabling Ikeda to rally from seven down and threaten to within one with a three-birdie roll after six holes in another scorching day here.
But Avaricio, who posted a Tour record of eight-under 64 in a sterling start Wednesday, pounced on Ikeda’s bogey slips linking both nines of the well-maintained Pradera layout and recovered from another miscue on No. 11 with birdies on Nos. 12 and 15, only to falter with bogeys on Nos. 16 on a three-putt miscue and 18 on a failed bid off the bunker.
But that hardly mattered as Ikeda also bogeyed the 16th and ended up with a 72 while erstwhile second-running Pamela Mariano limped with a 75 marred by three bogeys in the last eight holes, enabling Avaricio to go into the final round of the P750,000 championship put up by ICTSI virtually unscathed.
With a five-under 139 total, Avaricio kept Ikeda, who pooled a 143, at bay as she moved 18 holes away from extending her impressive run of exploits on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour where she won twice and posted a couple of runner-up efforts in the last four legs.
“I struggled at the front, mostly on my to-the-green shots and unlike yesterday (Wednesday), my putts weren’t dropping,” said Avaricio, who, despite the three-over card, still zeroed in on a third championship this year after edging Princess Superal in sudden death at Hallow Ridge and repelling Ikeda by one at Caliraya Springs.
The former Alabama State U product placed second to Ikeda at Mt. Malarayat and shared runner-up honors with Sunshine Baraquiel and Harmie Constantino at Splendido Taal, won by amateur Mafy Singson.