MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — Dottie Ardina moved on the threshold of a breakthrough victory on the Symetra Tour, spiking her five-under 67 with a stunning double eagle to stretch her lead to three in the second round of the $100,000 PHC Classic at the Brown Deer Park Golf Course in Grendale, Wisconsin Saturday.
Ruing flubbed birdie putts inside six feet on Nos. 8 and 9, Ardina thought of going for an eagle on the par-5 No. 10 to make up for those misses but got more than what she had hoped for, unleashing a solid TaylorMade M1 5-wood second shot from 190 yards out that disappeared into the cup.
“I hit it close on Nos. 8 and 9 to about 5-6 feet but missed both putts,” said Ardina. “So, I told my caddie before I hit my second shot on No. 10 that I need to put this on the green and at least try to make an eagle to make up for those short putts. I holed it and was shocked, surprised, but really happy.”
With that “2” and four birdies that negated her bogeys on Nos. 5 and 15, Ardina totaled a two-day aggregate of 13-under 131 to break the PHC Classic 36-hole scoring mark of 135 set by Brittany Marchand last year.
More importantly, it stretched the ace Filipina shotmaker’s overnight one-stroke lead to three, moving her 18 holes away from finally nailing the elusive victory after three runner-up finishes in the current Symetra season.
“I’ll try to make it simple…My goal is to stay focused on every shot and not to think that I’m ahead. I hope to hit it good and make a lot of putts,” said Ardina, who turned in back-to-back runner-up finishes at Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic and the Symetra Classic last May and placed second at the Donald Ross Classic last month.
A victory will also firm up her hold of the lead in the Volvik Race for next year’s LPGA Tour card and net her a spot in the fifth and final major on the LPGA Tour calendar – The Evian Championship slated Sept. 13-16 in France.
Standing in her way is American Lauren Coughlin who shot a second straight 67 to take the challenger’s role at 134 as erstwhile pursuer Karolina Vlckova of the Czech Republic slowed down with a 70 after a 66 and slipped to joint third at 135 with Americans Carlie Carr (68), Janie Jackson (66) and Kendall Dye (69).
Meanwhile, Mia Piccio fired a second 69 to move to joint 12th at 138, seven strokes of her former teammate in the ICTSI golf stable while Fil-Am Clariss Guce also shot a 69 for a 143 but Demi Runas, the other Fil-Am in the fold, failed to sustain a hot 67 start as she fumbled with a 77, marred by a double-bogey on the final hole, missing the cut by one.