Villacencio hangs tough

SILANG, Cavite — Gretchen Villacencio bucked Princess Superal’s solid start with an eagle-spiked two-under 70 then pounced on her fancied rival’s late miscues to regain a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the ICTSI Riviera Ladies Classic at Riviera’s Couples course here yesterday.

Villacencio, who surprised the compact field with a lead-grabbing 69 Wednesday, reeled back as Superal opened with back-to-back birdies to storm ahead and stayed in front until she stumbled with bogeys on Nos. 15 and 17 for a second 70, enabling the former to move in front again at 139.

“I’ve been playing pretty well – from driving, irons and putting,” said Villacencio, despite missing five fairways and three greens. She highlighted her 35-35 card with an eagle on the par-5 No. 7 off a solid 240-yard drive and a superb rescue shot that sailed over 220 yards and landed six feet off the cup.

She bogeyed the next but recovered the stroke with a birdie on No. 13 before watching Superal stumble at the finish for that 70 and a 140.

“I know she’ll (Superal) bounce back tomorrow (today). But I’ll be ready and will just try to enjoy my game to ease up the pressure,” said Villacencio, who honed her talent and skills at the Fernando Airbase in Lipa, Batangas.

Superal pressed her bid for a second straight Ladies Philippine Golf Tour crown with those early birdies and held sway with two more birdies on Nos. 7 and 12, only to slip back with late bogeys.