TARLAC – Cyna Rodriguez recovered with an early run of birdies then held sway at the back to shoot a two-under 70 and wrest a four-stroke lead over Thai Supakchaya Pattaranakrueang and Marvi Monsalve at the start of the ICTSI Luisita Ladies Championship at the Luisita Golf and Country Club here yesterday.
Rodriguez, due for a big win after a series of so-so finishes in the circuit she used to dominate, bogeyed the opening hole but struck back with three birdies in a four-hole stretch from No. 4 then came through with a bogey-birdie windup to complete a 34-36 card that stood out in a sweltering day at the tight, hazard-laden layout.
Pattaranakrueang actually seized control early with birdies on Nos. 2 and 6 but the Thai ace floundered at the tougher backside with four bogeys and slipped to joint second with Monsalve, who hit two birdies against four bogeys, at 74 as Princess Superal struggled with her iron play and hobbled with a 76 for fourth, six strokes behind her fellow Symetra Tour campaigner.
“I’ve been practicing hard, especially on putting, with the guidance of coach Bong (Lopez). He helped build up my confidence the last few weeks so I played relaxed all throughout,” said Rodriguez, a former three-time Order of Merit winner on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour who last won on the Ladies Philippine Golf at Riviera in 2015.
With a huge four-shot lead, Rodriguez hinted at playing it conservatively in the last 36 holes but she stressed the need to come up with solid drives that are key to winning at courses as tough as Luisita.
“One has to hit a good drive here to get good position to set up birdie opportunities,” said Rodriguez, who hit just six fairways and missed seven greens but more than made up for these with superb putting (27 putts).