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Amateur Singson cops ICTSI Valley Golf Challenge title

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Amateur Singson cops ICTSI Valley Golf Challenge title
Mafy Singson soaks it in up in victory as she gets a douse from Chihiro Ikeda, LK Go and Sheryl Villasencio.
Pilipinas Golf

ANTIPOLO – Mafy Singson closed out with a steady 71 that proved too much for her rivals to overcome as she bested Daniella Uy by three while thwarting fellow amateur Lois Kaye Go’s late rally to secure the ICTSI Valley Golf Challenge crown here Thursday.

It was way off her superb 69 in the weather-suspended play that drove her past a throng of rivals Wednesday for a one-stroke lead over Uy and Korean amateur Min Yeong Kim but enough to hoist a second Ladies Philippine Golf Tour trophy with a 54-hole total of 219.

Uy bogeyed three of the first five holes but went on a three-birdie binge from No. 10, only to struggle with a bogey-birdie-bogey run from No. 14 for a 73 and a 222 while Sarah Ababa matched Singson’s second round three-under card to tie Go, who put in a 71, at 223.

But while Singson claimed the championship trophy, Uy, who scored her maiden win at Riviera in 2021, took the top purse of P90,000 while Ababa pocketed P64,500 as the second-best pro in the sixth leg of this year’s circuit sponsored by ICTSI.

“Since I was leading most of the way, I just played it steady and told myself, ‘if it’s for me, it’s for me,’” said Singson, who upstaged pros Harmie Constantino and absentees Chanelle Avaricio and Sunshine Baraquiel by one for her breakthrough victory at Splendido Taal last year.

But thoughts of a second win hardly crossed her mind with a game that borders on mediocrity the past few months. She ended up tied at 11th at Caliraya Springs and wound up joint seventh at Villamor while faintly helping the national team in the Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.

Add to that an opening 79 at the challenging Valley South Tuesday, things indeed didn’t seem to look good or promising for the Team ICTSI spearhead.

But she made a big U-turn in the second round, bucking all the odds, including tough conditions at the hilly layout and a two-hour long weather delay to produce a 69, the huge 10-shot recovery netting her the lead which she never relinquished.

While she kicked off her final round bid with a spate of pars, flightmates Uy and Kim, just one stroke behind after 36 holes, hobbled with three bogeys (Go) and a bogey and a double bogey (Kim) in the first six holes.

Singson mastered the par-5 No. 7 and birdied it for the third straight day to firm up her lead and chipped in for another birdie on No. 16 but came up short of the closing par-3 hole for her lone bogey.

Go, four shots adrift at the start of the final round, made a run of three birdies against a bogey after 12 holes to take the challenger’s role. But the many-time national mainstay fell back with a bogey on No. 13 and parred the rest for a 35-36.

First round leader Chihiro Ikeda pulled to within one with a birdie on No. 2 but limped with a double-bogey, bogey, double-bogey skid from No. 7 and ended up with a 79 and a 229, four strokes behind Luisita Champion and Villamor PH Masters winner Constantino, who failed to recover from back-to-back 76s and wound up with a 225 after a 73.

Mikha Fortune skied to an 80 after a 71 in the second round as the Oklahoma U product placed eighth at 230 in her pro debut while Pamela Mariano shot a 75 to tie for ninth at 231 with Gretchen Villacencio and Martina Miñoza, who groped for 78 and 80, respectively.

With second pro win, Singson, who also became the second amateur to win after six legs following Rianne Malixi’s romp in Iloilo, remained uncommitted as to her pro bid, saying: “Maybe next year but unsure yet.”

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MAFY SINGSON

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