Superal nears crown, leads Ko by 1 shot

Princess Superal moved a step closer toward winning her first major international title, firing one-under-par 71 for a one-shot lead over former world No. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand in the inaugural Simone Asia Pacific Championship at the Pondok Indah golf course in Jakarta, Indonesia Friday.

Superal drew inspiration from teammate Pauline del Rosario’s fine performance that vaulted the Philippines to within three shots off the Korean tandem of Ryu So Yeon and Lee Bomee.

Koreans Kim Hyo Joo and Hwang You Min were in second spot on 7-under after returning with 68 and 69, respectively.

Superal completed 36 holes on 7-under 137.

She made eight straight pars before dropping a shot on 9. She bounced back with birdies on 13 and 16 to hold off Ko who mixed three birdies with the same number of bogeys.

Del Rosario, stepping up in the second round, returned with a 70 as the Filipinas combined for a 36-hole total of 6-under, good for third place.

After a shaky 75 on Thursday, the 23-year-old Filipina reached the turn on 1-under following birdies on 5 and 8 against a bogey on 9. She added another birdie on 14 as she made the homeward trip without a bogey.

The winner in this 54-hole tournament will bring home $100,000 (roughly P5.6 million).

Ko, who has 23 titles under her belt including two majors, bogeyed 2 and birdied 4 and 5 to make the turn on 1-under. She bogeyed 11 and 15 before birdieing 17 for the second straight day.

Lee matched par to sit in third place on 5-under, a shot ahead of fellow Koreans Ryu and Kim.

Ryu, who won two majors and 19 other tournaments, made a pair of uncharacteristic double bogeys and limped home in 75. She started with 65 in the opening round.

Kim, on the other hand, birdied three of the first four holes on her way to a 68.

Alone in sixth spot on 141 was Hwang You Min who shot a 70.

Three players — Jaravee Boonchant of Thailand, Indonesian amateur Patricia Sinolungan and Japanese Maria Shinohara — were tied for seventh on identical 143s.

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