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Superal solves NFCC with 70

Leads Women’s Porter Cup by one

By Mark Gaughan | Buffalo News Sports Reporter

Another day of tough conditions were no problem for 19-year-old Filipino Princess Superal Thursday at the Women’s Porter Cup golf tournament.

Superal relied on her stellar short game to shoot a 1-under 70 and take a two-shot lead entering Friday’s final round.

It was separation day in the event at Niagara Falls Country Club. Superal was one of only two golfers in the 83-player field to break par. There were 22 golfers within seven shots of the lead after the first round but only 13 within seven shots after 36 holes.

First-round leader Jaclyn Lee, a Canadian who plays at Ohio State, went from 68 on Wednesday to 5-over 76 Thursday. She’s tied for second with Canadian Josee Doyon, who plays at Kent State.

Tied three shots back are New Zealander Zoe Brake, a senior at Ohio State, and Canadian Naomi Ko, who just finished her freshman year at North Carolina State.

The wind didn’t blow as hard as on Day One, but it was still breezy on the Niagara Escarpment. And the wind made the greens faster.

“It was harder yesterday,” said Superal. “But it still was not easy. I think the pin positions today were tougher than yesterday.”

Superal won the U.S. Junior Girls championship in 2014. She’s only 5 feet tall and 118 pounds. But she’s seasoned.

She took up the game at age 5 and learned it from her father, who’s a teaching professional in the Philippines. She has been traveling internationally the past four years. She placed eighth at the British Amateur Stroke Play championship last summer. She plans to turn professional within the next two months, and her first pro objective is a spot on the Asian Tour.

“Her short game definitely is her strength, and her putting most especially,” said fellow Filipino Pauline Del Rosario, who stands seven shots back. “She’s a very hard worker. She loves to practice.”

Superal made only one bogey. She sank a 15-putt for birdie on the par-3 12th and two-putted for birdie on the par-5 17th.

“I feel very happy,” said Superal. “Yesterday the putts weren’t that good. Today they were good.”

Lee, a 19-year-old from Alberta, was keeping a positive attitude. Her round was spoiled by a triple-bogey on the par-3 fourth hole. She hit over the green, chipped on, then putted off the front of the steeply pitched green.

“The course got a little bit of the best of me today,” said Lee, who ranked fourth as a freshman on the Buckeyes team this year. “But I just had one bad hole. … I just try not to get too caught up in thinking about numbers.”

Another Buckeye threat is Brake, a 24-year-old who was all-Big Ten as a freshman but dropped to sixth on the Ohio State roster this season. She has made 10 birdies over the first two days and was on track for 70 Thursday before she bogeyed the last two holes.

“This is probably the most confidence I’ve had in awhile,” Brake said. “I worked with my coach in New Jersey, Mike Adams, on Saturday. I had a good day with him and I’ve got more confidence. Telling myself over and over: My game’s great. I’ve got all the shots in the bag. My self-talk probably wasn’t where it should be this year.”

Jackie Rogowski, who just finished her freshman year at Penn State, shot the other round of 70 to move into sixth place, four shots back at 146. She made an eagle 2 on the 420-yard ninth hole by hitting a 5-iron from 170 yards into the wind into the cup on one bounce.

Lancaster’s Chelsea Dantonio and Clarence’s Kat Peters both stand at 156.

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