Baraquiel soars with 66

Sunshine Baraquiel posted a career-best six-under-par 66 to seize the lead at the start of the Mizuno Cali Q-School Prep Series #2 at Marriott’s Shadow Ridge in Palm Desert, California Thursday.

Baraquiel, priming up for next week’s first stage of the Ladies Professional Golfers Association (LPGA) Q-School, fired an eagle and five birdies to counter a single bogey to open a one-shot lead over Lizzie Win of Sylvania, Ohio.

“I hit 14 fairways so driving was good,” said the 31-year-old licensed pilot who posted her maiden win last year at Tagaytay Highlands. “When I missed my drives, they were still on short grass.”

Baraquiel said clubbing was good, although not approach shots were good.

“I just missed on the correct spots. On the greens, I just did my best to read them, then I’ll trust my read and just roll the ball well,” she said.

Starting on the back nine, Baraquiel birdied 11 from 15 feet, tapped in for another birdie on 13, and gained another shot from 12 feet.

Going home, she knocked in a testy six-foot birdie putt on 2 and dropped a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-5 sixth hole. She capped her round with another birdie from 20 feet.

Baraquiel missed only one green that led to a lone bogey on 10.

Two other Filipinas — Chanelle Avaricio and amateur Lois Kaye Go — were outside the Top 20.

Avaricio, who started on 10, had three bogeys in the first six holes, but righted the ship the rest of the way, picking up birdies on 16 and 6. She signed for a 73.

Go, on the other hand, had a roller-coaster round of 74.

She birdied 2 and 3 but bogeyed 5 and 9 to reach the turn on even par. She stumbled with a triple bogey on 10, made back-to-back birdies from 12, and dropped another shot on 16.

Win collected eight birdies against three bogeys to stalk Baraquiel.

Amateur Nataliya Guseva was alone in third place on 68.

The Q-School’s first stage will be played in four courses, including Shadow Ridge.

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