Cavite | October 27, 2015
Mookharin Ladgratok of Thailand birdied three of the last holes for a five-under 66 and a one-stroke lead over three others in a crowded leaderboard at the start of the Manila Southwoods Ladies Classic at Southwoods’ Legends course here yesterday.
Ladgratok, 21, used a near-impeccable iron game and putting to string two 33s fashioned out in ideal conditions at the bunker-laden layout reduced to a par-71, 6048-yard after the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. turned the par-5 No. 8 into a par-4 hole.
Ladgratok, a two-time junior champion back home, parred the hole sandwiched by two birdies then went on to birdie Nos. 14, 16 and 17 inside seven feet to sneak into the lead in the 54-hole tournament serving as the final leg of the eight-stage circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. But three players stood just behind with 67s, including young Korean amateur Hwang Min Jeong, another Thai Wannasiri Sirisampant and local ace Chihiro Ikeda while local amateur and club bet Yuka Saso and Piyathida Ployumsri turned in identical 69s to put themselves in early contention in the 54-hole tournament backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp.
Like Ladgratok, Hwang rallied at the back with four birdies to fuel her bid for a second straight championship after humbling absentees Cyna Rodriguez and amateur Princess Superal in a backside thriller at LPGT Mt. Malarayat last month. Sirisampant, in contrast, took charge early with an opening 31 highlighted by a pitch-in eagle on No. 8 and birdies on Nos. 3 and 5, went five-under with birdies on Nos. 11 and 13 against a bogey on No. 10 but missed joining her compatriot at the helm with a missed-green bogey on the No. 18.