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Pradera explodes with 165, up by 21

Yuka Saso

CEBU, Philippines — Reigning Philippine Amateur champion Yuka Saso sizzled with 59 points as newcomer Pradera Verde upstaged defending six-time titlist Manila Southwoods to post a huge 21-point bulge at the start of the 12th PAL Ladies Interclub golf team championships at the Cebu Country Club here yesterday.

Saso, the 16-year-old Fil-Japanese and also the reigning national match play champion, tamed the tight, flat layout with her power game and solid iron play to gun down eight birdies and spearhead the Lubao-based squad’s attack. Tomita Arejola backed her up with 55 and national player Harmie Constantino added 53 markers for the team’s whopping 165-point explosion.

So solid was Pradera Verde that Kristine Torralba’s 50 points, which could easily lead a team’s bid, didn’t count in the four-to-play, three-to-count format.

It could have been 167 if not for the two-point deduction it incurred after Torralba failed to pick up on No. 15.

“We did not expect to lead this big,” said Pradera Verde captain Norman Sto. Domingo. “Tomita’s one-under was a big surprise.”

Saso used her length off the tee to set up her birdies, the most by anyone in the field. The only blot in her scorecard came on the par-5 No. 9 where she picked up after pushing her drive to the shrubs, misplayed her bailout shot and took four more strokes to reach the green.

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To underscore Pradera’s talent-laden side’s big start, nobody else in the Championship division managed to score in the 50s.

Samantha Bruce was Southwoods’ best scorer with 49 points followed by Bernice Ilas 48, and Laia Simone Barro 47 as the Carmona-based squad, seeking a seventh straight crown, struggled with a 144. Loralie Roberto failed to count with a 46.

“We need to reduce the lead at least by half tomorrow (today),” said Southwoods coach Bong Lopez.

Host Cebu Country Club finished with 140, four points behind Southwoods. Scoring for the host squad were Junia Louise Gabasa 48, Irina Paulin Gabasa 48 and Crystal Faith Neri 44.

Meanwhile, Lady Eagles Australia Golf, the only foreign club in the field, drew 50 points from Julia Caroline Camarsh to open an eight-point lead over Alabang Golf and Country Club with 134 points in the Founders division.

Ten points adrift with 124 were Manila Southwoods Legends and Del Monte Golf Club.

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