Strong start puts Ardina in contention at ShopRite LPGA Classic

MANILA, Philippines — Short but long in talent, Dottie Ardina produced her best start in the LPGA — an under-67 four that put her just two strokes behind Australian Stephanie Kyriacou at the start of the ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey Friday (Saturday, Manila time).

Three forward birdies capped the 34-33 card for the Filipino ace at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club par 37-34 course in Galloway, matching the outing of Korean world No. 1 Jin Young Ko, of No. 11 Brooke Henderson of Canada and American Marina Alex for a share of third.

Ardina actually settled for a two-birdie, one-back bogey card in a $1.75 million event that gets its 54-hole format off to a flying start.

But the ICTSI-backed shooter found his rhythm at the turn, hitting back-to-back birdies from the No. 2 and capping his push with another birdie on the par-5 No. 9.

She gave up some yardage to Tour-rated power hitters on a 244-yard driving standard, but hit 11 fairways and missed only three greens.

She finished with 30 putts, a key part of her game which she hopes to improve in a bid to claim a first LPGA crown after claiming her first Epson Tour triumph at the Copper Rock Championship in a fiery wind-up in the Utah last April.

But the former multi-time U.S. Kids champion will have a lot of toughening up to achieve her dream as a slew of aces and rising stars are also all set for the weekend battle for the top 262 purse. $500 (14 million pesos).

Kyriacou, for her part, shone on her ShopRite LPGA debut, producing a strong six under 65 to take a one-stroke lead over Sweden’s Frida Kinhult, who reached her 66 with an eagle on the par-9 ninth. -5.

But Ko is just within reach, making his presence felt with a five-birdie card and a bogey, the same outing set up by Alex, while Henderson walked away with a bogey-free 35-32 round.

A host of big guns also stood just a shot further at 68, ensuring a spirited chase for honors in the final 36 holes.

These include former world number one Sung Hyun Park, veteran Cristie Kerr, 2019 US Women’s Open winner Jeongeun Lee6, multi-title Nasa Hataoka and former big winner Pernilla Lindberg from Sweden.

During the Epson Tour, Fil-Am Clariss Guce survived a double bogey mishap at No. 13 as she saved a 70 on five birdies against two bogeys but fell seven strokes to the new leader Alexa Pano halfway through the Carolina Golf Classic in North Carolina. , also Friday (Saturday in Manila).

Guce, a two-time LPGA Farm League winner, moved from seventh after an inspiring 66 to an 11th-under 136 share with Pano storming past leader Gabriella Then with a 63 and 13-under 129.

Then, who took the lead with a scorching 62 on Thursday (Friday, Manila), slowed to a 69 and fell to second at 131, now two strokes behind, while China’s Xiaowen Yin and Auston Kim of the States United pooled an identical 133 after a 65 and 68, respectively.

But while Guce safely made it to the final 36 holes of the $200,000 championship, Pauline del Rosario had a decent start of 69 with a 75 and missed the cut with a 145 for the 98th joint, four strokes under. of the limit score.

Del Rosario fought back after a 39 start with birdies at numbers 11 and 12, but missed the next four holes and missed the weekend game after tying for 15th in the IOA Classic the month last.

Abby Arevalo failed to advance with a 147, also squandering a 71 start with a 76 wasted by five bogeys and a double bogey against two birdies to find herself tied for 118th in a field of 144.

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