Pauline fires 70, trails by 3 | Sports

Facing a disastrous backside start, Pauline del Rosario unleashed a strong finishing kick to get into the mix, saving a two-under 70 to trail Aussie amateur Grace Kim by three at the start of the Oscar Williams Classic of the Women’s All Pro Tour in Anna, Texas Tuesday.

Grappling with her iron game and groping to find her form in the thick roughs around the greens of the Hurricane Creek course, Del Rosario bogeyed Nos. 11 and 11 but checked an impending skid with big recoveries on Nos. 14 and 17, which she birdied inside 15 feet.

But she failed to keep the momentum of that big comeback with a couple of flubbed birdie chances at the front and dropped another stroke, on another missed green miscue, on the par-3 No. 5 to go one-over again.

But she birdied the par-5 sixth from close range then worked on that feat to birdie the next two for a 36-34 and joint with three others heading to the last two rounds of the 54-hole tournament serving as the sixth leg of the WAPT, which serves as part of the Symetra and LPGA Tour qualifiers.

“Got my range and rhythm back a little bit late but it’s a good start overall,” said the ICTSI-backed Del Rosario, who missed completing it a four-birdie windup with a muffed bid from 10 feet on No. 9.

Three down, the 2017 Ladies Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit titlist and the lone Filipina to win on the LPGA of Taiwan Tour, also four years ago, remained upbeat of her chances, saying: “Game plan is to miss it correctly tomorrow (Wednesday) and not to be caught in the thicker rough around the green.”

Winner of the last WAPT leg at Central Arkansa Open last month, Del Rosario is eyeing another strong finish this week in a bid to firm up her ranking in the WAPT standings where the top 5 after the 11-leg circuit will earn outright berths in Stage II of the LPGA Q-School set in October in Venice, Florida. The Pinay rising star is currently at No. 3 with 705 points with Mexican Fernanda Solis pacing the race with 843 and Scot Alison Muirhead in second with 716.

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