Eagle-spiked 64 propels Polnamin to 4-shot lead

Princess Superal holds the ball after scoring an ace on No. 17
Princess Superal holds the ball after scoring an ace on No. 17

TAGAYTAY – Thai Pannapa Polnamin turned from dismal to superb in a matter of days, shooting an eagle-spiked eight-under 64 to seize a three-stroke clubhouse lead over a late-charging Ching Huang of Taiwan and spoil Princess Superal’s hole-in-one feat and compatriot Ploychompoo Wirairungreung’s sustained charge in the rain-hit ICTSI Champion Tour at Tagaytay Midlands here.

Polnamin actually extended her run of poor form following a tied for last finish in last week’s weather-shortened ICTSI Champion Tour at Manila Southwoods ruled by Wirairungreung, bogeying the par-4 11th, the frontside of her game yesterday. But she hit her stride off the tee and found her touch on the greens, coming through with back-to-back birdies from No. 13 and adding another on No. 16, all inside 10 feet.

The 22-year-old shotmaker then holed out with an eagle off a superb 3-wood second shot from 230 yards to within nine feet on the par-5 18th then capped her charge with four birdies in the first five holes at the front to complete a pair of 32s and build a big cushion over Superal, Wirairungreung and comebacking Tiranan Yoopan before play was halted due to threat of lightning.

“Driving and putting were great today (yesterday),” said Polnamin, who struggled with 74 and 75 at Southwoods’ Legends course and wound up joint 52nd last Thursday.

Huang came out of a 90-minute weather delay with a birdie on No. 16 to spike a bogey-free 67 and get past Superal, Wirairungreung and company for solo second with a number of flights failing to complete play due to darkness.

A slew of others pressed their bid after the 90-minute weather delay but all faltered, including last year’s Philippine Ladies Masters champion Renuka Suksukont, also of Thailand, who pulled within two on a four-birdie binge from No. 3 to go six-under but dropped to joint second with Superal and company with a double-bogey on her closing ninth hole for a 68.