Newcomer Pradera Verde builds huge lead over Manila Southwoods-Masters on Day 1
In its first year in the PAL Ladies Interclub, Pradera Verde needed just 18 holes to make a statement. And a strong one at that.
Coming out with all guns cocked and firing, Pradera turned the tree-lined Cebu Country Club (CCC) layout upside down with 165 points and zoomed to a 21-point lead over Manila Southwoods-Masters after sensational teenager Yuka Saso fired a five-under-par 67 worth 59 on a scorching Tuesday.
Tomita Arejola also cracked par with 55, and former national champion Harmie Constantino contributed 53 and so efficient was Pradera that it threw away the 50 of Kristine Torralba on a day when no other player in the entire field was able to score 50.
Coach Norman Sto. Domingo, who assembled this team of youngsters just two weeks ago, is now aiming to go for the jugular right in Wednesday’s second round.
“We will go for the kill,” Sto. Domingo boldly predicted, though he refused to divulge his second round lineup. “It will be a strong team and we want to do that so we can cruise in the final two rounds.”
SW-Masters, bidding to win for the seventh straight year, hasn’t found itself in a position this beleaguered since this event’s revival in 2010, with coach Bong Lopez admitting that Wednesday will be “make-or-break” for the Carmona-based squad.
“We need to chop that deficit by at least half,” Lopez, who produced the likes of Jennifer Rosales, Dottie Ardina and Princess Superal, told the Inquirer. “It will be tough, but we will go out there and do our best.”
Samantha Bruce scored 49 and Bernice Ilas and Laia Barro accounted for 48 and 47 respectively, for SW-Masters, which discarded the 46 of Lora Roberto for 144.
CCC, the perennial runner-up to SW-Masters, is another four points behind after getting identical 48s from sisters Junia and Irina Gabasa and 44 from Crystal Faith Neri.
Saso, without a doubt one of the finest amateurs in the land, used her length to the hilt by birdying all the four par-5s. She could have gone even lower had she not picked up on the 18th – their ninth hole – after she failed to get out of trouble with an errant drive.
Lopez bared that SW-Masters will be going with its top guns in Sofia Chabon and Mika Fortuna in the second round, and could even play them for two straight days just to make a tournament out of this again.
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