Abby Arevalo primed herself up for a record championship run on her special day, carding a two-under 69 to post an imposing 11-stroke lead over Rianne Malixi in the second round of the Philippine Ladies Open at the Manila Golf Club in Forbes Park, Makati yesterday.
The San Jose State U product and member of the SEA Games gold medal winning squad took another conventional approach in dealing with the tight, par-71 layout but hinted at shifting to high gear in today’s final round in pursuit of a revered spot in the elite roster of winners of the country’s premier championship organized and conducted by the Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines.
“I played conservative again because that was my game plan. But I think it was too much today (yesterday),” said Arevalo, citing her failed bids on a couple of reachable par-5s that, however, failed to slow down her charge in the event she took charge of with a solid 68 Tuesday for a 137 aggregate and followed up with a four-birdie, two-bogey game.
“They can be reached (in two) but there are lots of trees and would need to hit exact shots. But this is a course-management layout and I don’t think I can be too aggressive with any of these pin placements and go for it,” she added.
So did the rest, including Malixi, who humbled Arevalo in last month’s National Stroke Play at Riviera that took three extra holes to finish but who failed to mount a challenge and fumbled with a 75 to fall 11 strokes behind at 148 with 18 holes left in the 58th staging of the event sponsored by San Miguel Corp., Diamond Motors, Sunsports and Eva Air.
Eagle Ace Superal bounced back from a 76 with a 74 but lay too far behind at 150 while Mafy Singson made a 76 for a 151 and Kiara Montebon wobbling with a 78 after a 74 and tumbling to fifth at 152 in the tournament backed by Globe, the National Golf Association of the Philippines, Copok (Seascape Village), Inquirer Golf, Mercedes-Benz, New World Hotel, Pocari, Manila Golf Ladies, Regent Travel, Hyundai, Poten-Cee, Pascual Lab, Net25, Lake Shore CCY, FHLCI and Tagaytay Ladies.
Arevalo thus moved 18 holes away from besting Bianca Pagdanganan’s nine-stroke win over Thai Atthaya Thitikul at Wack Wack on a day she turns 21. 2018 Asian Games gold medalist and now pro Yuka Saso ruled this event back-to-back, including a five-stroke victory here last year.
Grace Quintanilla recovered from a 79 with a 74 for a 153 while Nicole Abelar stumbled with a 79 for a 155 followed by Laurea Duque and Sam Dizon, who pooled similar 156s after a pair of 80s.