Filipina golfers stay in LPGA Q-Series hunt

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Filipina golfers stay in LPGA Q-Series hunt
Clariss Guce (left) and Dottie Ardina
Getty Images / AFP photos

MANILA, Philippines – Clariss Guce slowed down with a 70 at Falls, while Dottie Ardina and Pauline del Rosario charged back with 69 and 70, respectively, at Crossings, as the Filipina bidders stayed in strong contention after three rounds of the LPGA Q-Series at the RTJ Magnolia Grove in Mobile, Alabama Sunday (Monday Manila time).

Aussie Robyn Choi came out firing after a postponement due to unplayable courses conditions Saturday, gunning down seven birdies en route to a bogey-free 64 at the softened par-71 Falls course as she jumped from joint 15th to solo lead at 201.

She led Japanese Mao Saigo, Korean Hyo Joon Jang and Mina Harigae of the US by one after the troika matched 202s after 65, 67 and 68, respectively, all at the Falls layout.

At joint ninth at the postponement after a pair of 68s at Falls and at the par-72 Crossings, Guce blew a two-under card after 11 holes as she dropped shots on Nos. 14 and 15 before rebounding with a birdie on the 17th to save a 34-36 and a 54-hole haul of 206, seven strokes behind the new leader.

Though she slipped five spots to a share of 14th, the US-based Filipina and winner of two Epson Tour titles remained well within her target in the six-round elims where the Top 45 and ties will earn LPGA status for next year.

The Top 20 and ties will play out of Category 14 while the rest will play out of Category 15. Those outside the Top 45 and ties will settle for Epson Tour status.

However, a cut will be made after four rounds with the Top 65 and ties from the starting field of 104 to advance to the last 36 holes.

Ardina, tied with del Rosario and 13 others at 52nd after 36 holes, bolstered her bid with a three-under card at Crossings as she moved to tied 47th at 211, nine shots off the pace.

The ICTSI-backed shotmaker went on a birdie-spree at the resumption of play, gaining strokes on Nos. 4, 6 and 7 although the Epson Tour leg winner failed to sustain her charge to the finish, netting just one birdie at the back (No. 13) to negate a missed green mishap on the par-3 eighth.

Del Rosario, whose campaign is also supported by the world’s leading port operator, matched Ardina’s strong start, also at Crossings, birdying Nos. 4, 10 and 11. But the 2017 Ladies Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit winner and Epson Tour campaigner faltered with a bogey at the finish to end up with a pair of 35s.

At joint 59th at 212, however, del Rosario will need a lot of work to do back at Falls to at least guarantee her spot in the last 36 holes with a slew of others just a stroke or two behind, ensuring a wild fourth round battle for survival.

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