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Del Rosario qualifies in China LPGA

Pauline del Rosario enhanced a promising golf career by qualifying in the tough China LPGA Tour, finishing tied for 15th in a field of 110 in the 54-hole elims at The Dunes of Shenzhou Peninsula West course in Wanning, Hainan, China last Friday.

Del Rosario, who won four events on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour to clinch the Order of Merit trophy on her rookie season, shot rounds of 72-75-73 to pool a 220 for joint 15th with Thai Thanaporn Palitwanon (72) and Chinese amateurs Liu Yiyi (71) and Zhang Jingwen (73).

They finished 12 shots behind Tahnia Ravnjak of Thailand, who banked on a solid 68 start at the seaside Tom Weiskoph-designed layout to assemble a 208 after a closing 70. Chinese amateur Zhang Yue also carded a 70 and placed second at 211 while Taiwanese Chieh Peng matched par 72 and a 214 for third in the event which drew aspirants from Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Australia and The Philippines.

“The field was strong and the course was tough so I’m very happy to have qualified,” said Del Rosario, 19, who highlighted her big 2017 debut with a victory in the Taiwan LPGA last September.

The China LPGA, one of the premier ladies circuits in the region, has lined up 16 tournaments this year beginning with the Brunei Ladies Open on March 17-19.

Del Rosario, meanwhile, resumes her campaign on the LPGT on Wednesday for the ICTSI Splendido Ladies Classic where she is the defending champion.

The former De La Salle-Zobel standout, who gave up a golf scholarship at University of Kansas to pursue a pro career, beat former three-time OOM winner Cyna Rodriguez by seven last November to cap a four-title romp.