Constantino, steady as she goes, seizes ladies crown
A hole at a time down the stretch, the leader of the ICTSI Villamor Philippine Masters women’s tournament slowly unraveled. In fact, Harmie Constantino hardly needed anything fabulous to spring to the top and win the title.
A string of pars in the last five holes did the trick.
“I just stuck to and tried to execute my game plan—hit the fairways and make the putts,” said Constantino on Friday after claiming the title with a closing 74 that resulted in a 221 total.
Two-day leader Daniella Uy made it easy for Constantino in a final round that became a tense contest starting at No. 10.
Constantino swallowed a four-stroke deficit at that point to set the stage for a wild finish.
Uy grabbed a two-shot lead again at 13 to pull within sniffing distance of the trophy, but uncharacteristically came apart with double bogeys on 15, 16 and 17. In the end, it was Chihiro Ikeda’s 73 for the day and 223 for the tournament that Constantino had to overcome for the top prize.
“It was not as perfect as I had wanted it to be but I think I played okay. I played as steady as I possibly could,” said Constantino, whose par-saving putt from 12 feet on the 54th hole was greeted with jubilation from the home fans.
“They always pray for me, they always want me to win,” Constantino said of the regulars of the club she calls home.
Limped homeIkeda settled for runner-up honors in the race to become the Masters’ first ladies champion while Uy, who limped home with an 83, finished third with a 226 total, sharing the spot with Korean Kim Seoyun.
Uy had admitted to being troubled by Villamor’s pin placements even after taking the lead after two rounds of the inaugural tournament. And it showed right away in the final round. She bogeyed the first three holes and dropped another stroke on No. 6.
In the men’s division, Guido van der Valk rescued a 75 on a grueling day and collared Joenard Rates at the top of the standings after three rounds.
He was nearly a shot short of pulling that off after a poor chip at the par-5 18th left him with a testy 10-footer for birdie.
But the Dutchman drained the putt while Rates fumbled an attempt to save par for a 77.
Van der Valk tied Rates at 212 and Marvin Dumandan squeezed into the title hunt with a 73 that tied him with Jhonnel Ababa, who carded a 74, at 214.
“But definitely [on Saturday], I have the chance to win because I wasted too many shots [on Friday],” Van der Valk said.
“If you play this course for four days, bogeys will come at some point because it’s that kind of golf course, no one will run away with it. We just need to stay patient,” he added.
—INQUIRER SPORTS STAFF
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