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Ardina wavers but romps off with title

Dottie Ardina

MANILA, Philippines - Dottie Ardina survived her worst round ever in harsh condition and won the Malaysian Junior Open golf crown despite a birdie-less nine-over 81, beating Aditi Ashok of India by four at the muddy Saujana Golf Resort and Country Club in Subang, Malaysia Thursday.

Heavy rains that forced the suspension of second round play Wednesday made the par-72 longer and tougher with Ardina enduring a day-long struggle with her game marred by seven bogeys and a double bogey in her worst round in years.

“I just couldn’t putt. My feel was off the whole round,” rued the 17-year-old Ardina, who flashed superb putting in the first round to fire a 67 which she used as a springboard to pocket her fifth crown in the year. “Almost all of my putts were short and the course was very long and muddy.”

The top ICTSI-backed bet completed her suspended second round stint with a 72 early Thursday then limped home with that 81 for a 54-hole total of 220 as she kept the Philippines domination of the annual event ruled by Sarah Ababa last year.

Ardina, who bogeyed Nos. 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 14 and dropped two strokes on No. 13, won by four over Ashok, who failed to cash in on the Filipina’s poor round with a 76 and a 224.

Ababa made a 78 and finished tied for third with Malaysian Loy Hee Ying, who also carded a 78, at 227 while erstwhile pursuer Nur Durriyah, also of Malaysia, also skied with an 81 and tumbled down to fifth with a 229.

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Daniella Uy made an 84 and wound up seventh at 234 while ICTSI teammate Sheryl Villacencio ended up ninth with a 240 after a 77.

“Everybody had a hard time scoring because of the bad condition of the course. It was very muddy, making it longer and tougher,” said ICTSI team coach and former Phl Ladies Open winner Carmelette Villaroman. “But despite Dottie’s 81, she still managed to win by four.”

The reigning Queen Sirikit Cup individual champion, who also won the True Vision Junior Championship in Thailand and the San Diego Masters, likewise ran away with the Under-18 diadem, beating Ababa by seven.

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