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Del Rosario grabs Pradera lead

LUBAO, Pampanga – Pauline del Rosario blew a hot start but recovered from a wobbly midway stint with a sizzling backside rally as she shot a four-under 68 and seized a two-stroke lead over Thai Tiranan Yoopan at the start of the ICTSI Pradera Verde Ladies Classic here yesterday.

Del Rosario, who tinkered with her swing during the break to maintain her strength, birdied three of the first seven holes to take charge early, only to drop off the leaderboard with three straight bogeys from No. 8 under scorching heat.

But she rattled off four birdies-in-row from No. 11 to post a 35-33 card and upstage fancied Princess Superal and Cyna Rodriguez for the early lead in the P750,000 event at the sprawling Pradera Verde Golf and Country Club.

“I struggled with my long game a bit but I hope to play a more steady game in the next two days,” said Del Rosario, seeking to nail a third leg win after scoring a breakthrough at Orchard and then dominating the Baguio stop last June.

With Superal, who has posted emphatic wins as an amateur and pro in the country’s premier circuit put up ICTSI, and Rodriguez failing to get going, Yoopan took the challenger’s role with a 70.

“I should play a relaxed game, just enjoy it and try to lessen my missed putts,” said Yoopan, who went on a roller-coaster ride of three birdies against three bogeys in the first eight holes but put herself back in contention with birdies on Nos. 9 and 13.