Huang, Suksukont grab clubhouse lead

Ching Huang
Ching Huang

TAGAYTAY – Taiwanese Ching Huang holed out with a birdie on No. 9 and saved a two-under 70 as she tied Thai ace Renuka Suksukont at the clubhouse lead after the morning group’s completed second round play in the ICTSI Champion Tour at Tagaytay Midlands here yesterday.

With first round leader Pannapa Polnamin and a number of early contenders, including local ace Princess Superal, still out on the fairway at presstime, Ching and Suksukont took the provisional lead with seven-under 137s, three ahead of the troika of Thais Chonlada Chayanun and Supamas Sangchan and local amateur Lois Kaye Go.

Ching, out to atone for a so-so tied for 34th finish in last week’s rain-shortened ICTSI Champion Tour at Manila Southwoods, fought back from a one-over backside card with a closing 33, including three birdies in the first five holes, with her last-hole feat negating a missed green bogey on No. 7.

The Taiwanese ace, who fired a bogey-free 67 late Wednesday, opened the backside with four straight scrambling pars but ran out of escape act on No. 16 before birdying Nos. 2 and 3. She then came through with a pitch-in birdie on the par-3 fifth that put her in the hunt for the top $15,000 purse in the 54-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI.

Suksukont, the reigning Philippine Ladies Masters champion also out to make up for her joint 22nd finish last week, sustained her first round 68 with three birdies in the first 13 holes then birdied the par-3 17th for the second straight day to recover the stroke she lost on No. 14.

But it was Go who stole the thunder in morning play as the Asian Games-bound shotmaker sizzled with four birdies at the back to more than make up for her shaky opening 75. She gunned down four more birdies at the back but fumbled on No. 9 for the second straight for the lone black mark in her otherwise superb round.

Still, her 65 gave her a 140 aggregate as she caught up with Chayanun, who fired a 70, and Sangchan, who matched par 72, at provisional third place with 18 holes left to play in the $75,000 event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and sanctioned by Taiwan LPGA.

Chatprapa Siriprakob, another Thai campaigner, carded a 70 to lead the 141 scorers, who included Taiwanese Chen Meng-Chu and 2017 Phl Ladies Masters winner Saranporn Langkulgasettrin, who turned in identical 72s.

Thai Parinda Phokan wavered with 74 while Pan Yen-Ling stumbled with a 75 as they slipped off the leaderboard with 142s while Taiwanese amateur Chen Hsuan rallied with a 70 for a 143 in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZGm PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.

Meanwhile, Polnamin and Superal found the going tougher in afternoon play with the former limping with a two-over card after her frontside start and the latter hobbling with a 37 at the back.