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Del Rosario rallies with 73, leads Orchard golfest by 1

Pauline del Rosario charged back with late birdies to salvage a one-over 73 and grab a one-stroke lead over Thai Pannapa Polnamin and two other local bets at the start of the ICTSI Orchard Ladies Invitational at Orchard’s Player course in Dasmariñas, Cavite yesterday.

Out to snap a pair of runner-up finishes in the first three legs of the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, del Rosario birdied Nos. 16 and 18 to emerge from the middle of the 30-player pack to the top of the heap with a 36-37 card.

But the former Philippine Ladies Open champion, who stumbled with four bogeys in an eight-hole stretch from No. 8 after birdying No. 7, is chased by a slew of pursuers, including defending champion Chihiro Ikeda, former LPGT leg winner Sarah Ababa and Thai first-timer Polnamin, who all turned in 74s.

The lead changed hands so often in hot condition with Apple Fudolin wresting early control with a one-under card after 10 holes before sliding to joint fifth at 75 after four bogeys, and Ababa and Polnamin taking charge with one-under after No. 12, only to falter with three bogeys in the next four.

Five shared the lead in one stretch before the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. suspended play due to threat of lightning late in the afternoon just after Del Rosario surged ahead with that birdie-par-birdie windup.