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PH up by 7 strokes

Yuka Saso hobbled with a 77 after a superb 66 and Harmie Constantino wavered with a 75 after a 69 but Team Philippines held on to a seven-stroke lead over Korea and three others halfway through the World Junior Girls Championship in Mississaugua, Ontario, Canada Wednesday.

Sofia Legaspi, the other Filipina in the three-to-play, two-to-count format event, recovered from an 84 with a 75 and counted for the Team Phl’s 150 for a 285 total, anchored on Saso and Constantino’s solid nine-under 135 in the first round.

Korea rallied with a 142 while Sweden carded a 144 to tie China and the US, which turned in a pair of 146s, at 292 while Italy also rebounded with a 145 for a 294.

Legaspi started with three straight birdies from No. 3 but fell back with five bogeys and a double-bogey against one more birdie on No. 17 for a three-over card.

After bucking blustery condition at the Mississaugua Golf and Country Club with a fiery six-under card Tuesday, Saso found the going tougher this time, fumbling with three bogeys and two double bogeys against two birdies, the last on No. 17 for a 37-40 card. Her meltdown enabled China’s Du Mohan, carding a 70, to tie the Fil-Japanese shotmaker at the helm at 143 in individual competition of the 72-hole championship conducted by Golf Canada and supported by the International Golf Federation and R&A.

Constantino, who made it 1-2 for the Phl in the first round, actually had a one-under card after 14 holes but dropped four strokes in the next three holes, including a double-bogey mishap on No. 15, and limped with a 75, slipping to joint third at 144 with Italy’s Caterina Don and Korean Hee Jung Lim.

“I’m really proud to play here and represent my country,” said the 15-year-old Constantino, whose team’s campaign is sanctioned by the National Golf Association of the Philippines. “Of course, not all kids can play in this tournament, so being a part of it is really good for me.

“We are one of the (smaller) countries, we don’t have many players, so I’m really proud to say that I’m from the Philippines. We didn’t have much confidence coming here because there were bigger countries, so it’s really nice to be here and play,” added Constantino.

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