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Filipina golfers slip as Fall hangs tough

MANILA, Philippines -- Clariss Guce’s momentum from her stirring 65 Friday fizzled out as she struggled to maintain her form, ending up with a 73 and slipping further behind Dana Fall in the third round of the Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic in Scottsdale, Arizona Saturday (Sunday Manila time).

In stark contrast to her impressive performance in the previous round that featured two eagles, Guce grappled with her accuracy off the tee and approach shots, finding only five fairways and missing nine greens.

However, her proficiency on the greens salvaged her round as she registered 29 putts, preventing a more significant slide down the leaderboard.

She bogeyed two of the first 12 holes, where she previous excelled with a 6-under score. Although she birdied the 13th, she conceded another stroke on the par-5 closing hole of the TPC Scottsdale’s Champions course.

Guce assembled a 205 to slip to solo fifth spot, four strokes behind Fall, who stayed at the helm despite a one-over 72 for a 201, one shot ahead of Chinese Michelle Zhang, who rallied with a 69 for a 202.

Kum-Kang Park and Mariel Galdiano matched 71s for joint third at 204.

Dottie Ardina, meanwhile, also slowed down with an even-par 71 after back-to-back 68s, but her 207 total moved her to solo 10th heading into the final 18 holes of the $400,000 Epson Tour championship.

The ICTSI-backed campaigner managed three birdies but struggled with an equal number of bogeys, failing to capitalize on her flawless driving accuracy that saw her hitting all fairways.

However, she wrestled with her irons, failing to reach regulation eight times although she finished with 29 putts to mitigate the damage.

Pauline del Rosario’s impressive performances of 66-67 also abruptly halted as she limped with a 75 to plummet from tied fourth position to a share of 11th at 208, now seven strokes behind Fall.

Despite dominating Nos. 1 and 8, both par-5s, with a birdie and an eagle, respectively, del Rosario fumbled with three bogeys and two costly double bogeys on Nos. 7 and 11, severely denting her hopes of contending for the title.