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Superal moves up to joint 7th

Princess Superal knocked down three straight birdies from No. 10 and went on to shoot a four-under 68 to safely make it to the final round of the LPGA and Symetra Tour Qualifying School-Stage I at Rancho Mirage, California Saturday.

Superal, who stood at joint 20th after a 70 at the Gary Player course Thursday and 72 at the Dinah Shore layout Friday, thus moved to a share of seventh with three others at six-under 210, just two shots off American Mariah Stackhouse and four others, who pooled 208s and who led the top 120 players plus ties from a huge field of 340 into the final round of the first phase of the grueling elims leading to stints in the world’s premier ladies circuit.

The top 90 plus ties after the final round will move to Stage II slated Oct. 20-23 at the Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Florida.

“Cess is safely into Stage II but she wants to top the first stage and I believe she can with the way she’s playing. She’s only two-down behind the leaders,” said Team The Country Club coach Bong Lopez, who carries the bag for his prized ward seeking to become the next Filipina to play on the LPGA Tour.

Superal’s strong finish also already assured her of a Symetra Tour status for 2017.

Eight strokes off the pace midway through the qualifiers, the former US Girls’ Junior champion birdied two of the first six holes, dropped a shot on the tough par-4 ninth but rattled off three straight birdies to start her backside bid.

Lopez said she could’ve moved closer or gained a share of the lead if not for her flubbed birdie putts on Nos. 15 and 18, both par-5s.

Stackhouse also shot a 68 to surge ahead with compatriot Madchen Ly, who fired a 69, Brazil’s Daniela Darquea, and Sarah Vilaubi, who both carded 71s, and erstwhile solo leader Sarah Schmelzel, who faltered with a 74, at 208.

Japanese Nasa Hataoka stood at solo sixth at 209 after a 67 while Regina de Guzman, the other Filipina in the fold, also secured a spot in the final round as she fired a 70 for a share of 25th at 214.

Filipina Symetra Tour campaigners Dottie Ardina and Mia Piccio and two-time Symetra Tour winner Clariss Guce will resume their LPGA bid in Stage 2 while Cyna Rodriguez, after failing to make the Top 80 in the LPGA Money List, will vie again in Stage III slated Nov. 30-Dec. 4 at the LPGA international in Daytona Beach, Florida.