China's Shi Yuting leads the individual event of the Queen Sirikit Cup after shooting a four-under 68 on Thursday for a two-day score of 138. - RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/ The Star
SUBANG: Shi Yuting continued her dominant performance at the Asia-Pacific Ladies Invitational Golf Team Championship for the Queen Sirikit Cup, keeping China within striking distance of leaders Philippines at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.
Touted as one of the most promising young players in recent years, the 16-year-old Shi followed up on her opening 70 with an impressive four-under 68 on Thursday to top the individual leaderboard by four strokes.
Her sterling performance combined with her compatriot Wang Ziyi’s 73 gave the Chinese a 141 total and a two-day haul of 286 to finish joint-second with South Korea.
South Korea chalked up a second successive 143, courtesy of Lee So-young (71) and Park Gyeol (72).
Meanwhile, the Philippines maintained their overnight advantage, with SEA Games individual gold medallist and 2012 Malaysian Junior Open champion Princess Mary Superal contributing a three-under 69 with Pauline Del Rosario notching a vital even-par 72 for a two-day total of 284.
Overnight individual leader Clare Amelia P. Legaspi carded a non-contributing 73.
Japan lie fourth on 291 while Taiwan is on fifth, thanks to a scintillating second round of five-under 67 by Cheng Ssu-chia.
An improved display by the Malaysians, notably a two-over 74 by Dianne Luke Jia Zhen and Nur Durriyah Damian’s 77 lifted the hosts to eleventh placing with a two-day total of 308.
Gunning for their maiden victory at the prestigious championship, the Chinese are relying on their talisman Shi to lead the way and the Shanghai native has yet to disappoint.
“I’m quite happy with my score but a little disappointed with how I finished my round. My putting was much better than yesterday and I was lucky to be able to convert all my birdies from under 10 feet,” said Shi, who finished fourth at the Sanya Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour last year.
“I was six-under through 15th but I got a little over-excited and the heat took its toll. It resulted in two dropped shots on the 16th when I three-putted after missing the green with my approach and on the 18th when my tee-shot went into the water.
“Those two shots could have made a difference for our team but my team captain (Wei Qingfeng) advised us to just focus on our respective games tomorrow and not think about winning just yet,” she added.
The Philippines remain on course for their first Queen Sirikit Cup victory and the dynamic team, which triumphed at the Myanmar SEA Games in December, remains confident of achieving a major breakthrough.
“It feels nice to remain at the top of the leaderboard and we feel good about our chances tomorrow. We have to remain consistent and everybody has to deliver a good final round, which hopefully will lift us to victory in this championship,” said Superal.