MANILA -- Daniella Uy leaned on a strong finish to create a two-stroke lead over Chihiro Ikeda and Marvi Monsalve in the ICTSI Villamor Philippine Masters at the Villamor Golf Club, Wednesday.
Uy closed the first round with back-to-back birdies to break away from a three-way tie. She birdied the tight No. 1 and the par-3 No. 4 before overcoming a couple of mishaps.
"I saved a lot of pars, laging stymie ang drive," said Uy, who had previously squandered a couple of chances for a second LPGT win on late-hole struggles.
This includes a loss in the recent Luisita Championship, where she yielded to Harmie Constantino in sudden death after leading by three in one stretch in regulation.
Her strong finish at the start of this week’s 54-hole, P1 million championship, however, should augur well for her drive for a follow-up to her breakthrough win at Riviera-Langer in bubble setup in 2021.
"I have to hit more fairways and greens tomorrow (today)," said Uy, who hopes to hold off Ikeda and Monsalve in Day 2.
Ikeda, the reigning Order of Merit champion who has never seriously contended for the championship after four legs, mixed three birdies against the same number of bogeys to match Monsalve’s even-par card in hot conditions.
Monsalve, toughened up by stints in the Thai LPGA, holed out with a birdie on the ninth, her closing hole, to line herself up for a crack at a first LPGT diadem.
Korean Kim Seoyun birdied the 18th to rescue a 74 while Constantino hobbled with a four-bogey, one-birdie card on a course she calls home for a 75.
Gretchen Villacencio posted a 76 while Sarah Ababa bogeyed No. 16 and made a double bogey on the next for a 77 as she slipped to joint seventh with Eva Miñoza, while Florence Bisera and Lucy Landicho matched 78s and Pamela Mariano carded a 79.
Korean Lee Jiwon skied to an 83 but still led Mafy Singson, who birdied the last hole for an 84, by one in their duel for low amateur honors.